Crossing the two-and-a-half mile bridge from Mestre on the mainland, you arrive at Piazzale Roma, west of the train station. From this point, you have only two travel choices: to go by boat or on foot.
The Venetians are tolerant of cats. In fact, the cats of Venice are cherished, fed, and watched over by people who appreciate the serenity and self-sufficiency of cats.
Once, when I was strolling down a passage, the bony remains of a fish suddenly fell from a high window right down next to a cat. This act of serendipity did not surprise me--it was in keeping with the mystery of the city.
Just like Amsterdam, Leiden in the Netherlands features a large number of small canals. It's mainly known as a university city and is one of Europe's most prominent scientific research centers. This gives Leiden a bustling and international feel.
Many famous people live or have lived there, including Carice van Houten (Melisandre in Game of Thrones), Albert Einstein, and Rembrandt. However, Leiden's most discussed inhabitant is... a cat.
Jacco aka Buurtpoes Bledder was the adopted pet of one of the residents of a student house in Leiden. As soon as he was allowed outside, he started roaming the neighborhood around the Nieuwe Rijn, looking for company. He particularly loved the cafés, shops, bars and offices in the historic central district. Many of the managers and customers started posting his adventures on Facebook, and that's how he became a local celebrity.
Welcome to the UK's first cat café: Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium.
«Lady Dinah's owes its genesis to a bad day at work,» founder Lauren Pears explains in the book London Pubcats. Lauren was a senior project manager working in computer games who, after a miserable day at the office, had her mood lightened on the way home by the affections of a stray cat. «It made me realize that everything seems better when there's a cat. I wrote my business plan the next day.»
The idea was to create a place where people who didn't have a cat of their own would be able to come and enjoy some feline company.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised almost £110,000, the café opened its doors in March 2014.
Even though there are many pubs in London where you can enjoy the company of one or two cats (The Charlotte Despard and the Old Eagle's pub, to name a few), Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium has become the place to be for cat lovers visiting the capital.
Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium has become so popular that you usually can't get in without a reservation, not even on a weekday afternoon outside of the holiday season.
A reservation costs £10 (to be paid in advance). For that price, you get one non-alcoholic drink and 90 minutes in the company of the cats.
You can also opt for High Tea. For £25, you receive 90 minutes with the resident felines, two drinks per person, and a high tea tier to share (which will be more than you'll be able to eat).
The basement floor of the café is decorated like the magical forest of Alice in Wonderland. This is also where the name of the café comes from since Dinah is Alice's kitten.
The top floor has a more neutral setting.
The wellbeing of the cats is of utmost importance in Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium. There are more rules to follow than in most other cat cafés (wash your hands before entering, don't pick up the cats, don't wake them up, etc), but that is a good thing.
Guests are more than welcome to play with the cats, and there are plenty of toys to assist with that.
When Frédéric Chopin and George Sand lived on Mallorca between 1838 and 1839, they stayed in Cell no. 4 in the Carthusian Monastery of Valldemossa. These days, this monastic cell is known as the Chopin Museum. Here, you can admire the composer's Pleyel piano, sent to him from Paris, on which he finished some of his most famous compositions (like various Preludes, one Polonaise, his second Ballade, and the Third Scherzo).
When visiting the museum, you'll likely meet an Avalon-lookalike, either inside or in front of the museum. This Turkish Van cat doesn't officially belong to the monastery (the staff doesn't even know his name or where he comes from), but he has chosen Cell no. 4 as his favorite Valldemossa hangout.
An entrance ticket to the Chopin Museum costs four euros. This only covers a visit to the officially recognized Chopin Cell, where the Pleyel piano is displayed but doesn't include the entrance to all other museums in the monastery.
Address: Plaça Cartoixa 4, Celd 4, Valldemossa, Mallorca
Valldemossa is one of the most charming inland villages on the Balearic island of Mallorca. Perched in the Tramuntana mountains, it sports some breathtaking viewpoints on the surrounding hills filled with olive, oak, and almond trees.
The center is ideal to cozy up in a restaurant with a drink, or to stop by some souvenir shops, museums, and art galleries. However, you may want to venture farther away, into the 'uneventful' winding alleys. Not only will you see many pretty, ancient blonde-stone houses here, but also lots and lots of cats.
When you're in London and are planning to visit Camden town and its markets, make sure to stop at the music pub The Old Eagle. A good reason for your visit would be their cat, Churchill (or just Church for the friends).
Churchill arrived at The Old Eagle two years ago during Christmas-time. Someone came to the pub holding in his hands two kittens that had been rejected by their mother. The pub manager, Jimmy McGrath, decided to keep the kittens and named them Winnie and Churchill (after Winston Churchill).
Unfortunately, Winnie was run over by a car and is no longer with them. «Church is a lot more characterful and has a lot more swagger since Winnie is not here anymore,» says Allison, the pub owner's daughter. «He's also a good hunter. He does the work he's here to do, and sometimes more.»
If you want to meet Churchill, make sure you visit The Old Eagle pub during the day. Often, tourists come in on a busy Friday night and wonder why the cat is not there. Churchill likes his peace and quiet.
But sometimes, he can be out for the day, so you never know for sure whether he'll be around or not.
Ask the owner or staff for some treats if the cat is around. Except... he's not allowed Dreamies. «He goes psycho when he has them,» Allison explains.
Also, he's known for snagging a prawn from your plate if you let him.
The photo above was snapped near an old fort high above Kotor, Montenegro, where a cat was enjoying the last heat from the rocks as the clouds moved in.
Tourists often call this coastal town the "city of cats." But despite the sun and scenic beauty, life is not that good for the animals of Montenegro. It's still a developing nation - formed in 2006 after the break-up of former Yugoslavia - and is dealing with quite a few economic struggles.
Because of these problems, there's no official spay-neuter program for animals; there are no shelters. Most of the cats are unwanted and thus uncared for.
In June 2018, the organization Kotor Kitties started addressing these unmet needs. Their mission is to improve the health of Montenegro's street cats and to reduce their number through spaying and neutering.
Kotor Kitties reached out to the locals who feed the large colonies of community cats and works with a private veterinarian who was kind enough to reduce his fees.
You can help pay for the spaying and neutering of the cats of Montenegro through the GoFundMe page Kittens are Cute, But Neuter is Cuter. Kotor Kitties currently have over 150 cats waiting to be sterilized, so all help is welcome. On their Facebook page, you'll find pictures of each cat immediately after surgery.
Kotor Kitties also faces roughly $1,000 in fees to incorporate as a non-profit charity in the USA, to secure a business license, and to apply for official NGO status in Montenegro.
If you're in Montenegro and find a sick, injured, or dying cat, you may contact Kotor Kitties, so that they can connect you with caretakers and veterinarians.
Please share this post to help spread awareness about the street cats of Montenegro.
The Charlotte Despard in Archway is one of the coziest pubs in London. Lots of candles, warm lighting, comfortable furniture, local beers, and...a cat named Legz.
Legz arrived at Charlotte Despard nearly six years ago. Chris Sparks, one of the pub's owners, saw a video of Legz when was recovering from an injury after being hit by a car, and it was love at first sight. He went to the shelter to meet him, and the rest is history.
Legz is a three-legged cat, but you will hardly notice he's missing a limb. He's extremely agile, races from one corner of the pub to the other, and constantly jumps on and off the counter and the tables. Only once in a while, you will see him limping a little, but only if you pay close attention.
He's very sociable but doesn't seem to like it when the initiative comes from customers he's not familiar with.
Wanderlust and a sense of professional adventure took Lorraine Chittock to Cairo in 1991 to work as a magazine photographer. Her fascination with the camel trade culminated in the coffee-table book, Shadows in the Sand: Following the Forty Days Road, an account of her arduous trek along an ancient caravan route from Sudan into Egypt.
Cairo Cats looks at another creature which is as intrinsic a part of Egyptian culture as the camel. During her seven years in Cairo, she explored the nooks and crannies where the feline denizens of the city hide in order to obtain her intimate portraits of these wary inhabitants.
These cats occupy one of the most beautiful villages in France: Pérouges.
Most of them have owners who treat them like treasured, indulged pets. But like in nearly every village, there's a pack of "gutter cats" too. Some are unwanted strays; others' owners have died or moved away. Regardless, there's always someone who feeds and looks after them.