In common with many other Mediterranean places, San José has a large population of feral cats, usually found rummaging around the bins for whatever scraps of food they can find. As to whether the cats present a health problem or not is anyone’s guess but they are considered by some to be a nuisance along with cockroaches, ants, etc… It’s true to say that some cats do become diseased as a result of how they live but I’ve never seen any rats so their presence can’t be that bad!
In some areas of Almería province, there have been groups of volunteers who have undertaken neutering programmes to try to keep the cat population under control, the trouble is the cats often breed as fast as these programmes are being carried out. So you can only imagine how it would be without this volunteer action!
We moved to San José 18 months ago and brought our cat Chica from the UK with us after we had been living here for a few months. When we arrived in April 2011, there were two (what we thought) stray cats hanging around the house, one of which we fed on a semi-regular basis – but mainly because we didn’t want to find a cat corpse! Anyways, since then “Elsie” and “Stumpy”, the second cat that was hanging around the house, have moved in – it seems that these cats were looked after by the previous tenants of our house who had left money (apparently) with friends to look after them… the friends have long since vanished.
Since we’ve had cats, our house has been visited by a number of waifs and strays (mostly other cats), some that come regularly and we have named and some we only see now and then. There are two tabby sisters, “Tigger” and “Tiger” who I think have their eyes on moving in, that have been visiting us for some time now. They alternate between our house and a neighbour’s house with a huge garden full of places to hide and stalk all those nasty grass-hoppers! They are friendly enough. Oddly, the only photograph I have of Tigger and Tiger is an Instagram one and predictably, they’re nowhere to be seen just now, so I can’t run and get a quick snap… I suspect in the neighbour’s garden 🙂
Earlier this year, we were visited regularly by a pregnant tabby who has since given birth and both mother and daughter are now regular visitors.
So now adding it all up, our own little cat population is as follows:
- IN THE HOUSE
Chica – tortoise-shell from UK
Elsie – tortoise-shell that came with the house
Stumpy – black cat with short tail that came with the house, looks like Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch (if anyone knows it)
- SOMETIMES IN THE HOUSE (mostly outside between us & neighbour)
Tigger – tabby with white underbelly
Tiger – twin sister of Tigger but no white underbelly and a little friendlier
- REGULAR VISITORS (but never in the house – YET!)
Mother cat (no name) – tabby
Kitten (no name) – off-spring of tabby mother
Scaredy Cat – a skinny black cat that looks continually worried, a real stray and suspected father of kitten.
No-Nose – a mostly white cat with black & tabby patches and a hare-lip!
- RANDOM VISTORS
Too many to mention but we tend to only see them now & then and sometimes only once.
All “free-loaders” the lot of ’em! I have to say though, I find it quite interesting studying their habits and how they interact and behave with each other.