Saturday, April 26, 2014

Greece: Cat ‘Tales’ from the Cyclades

We’ve been in Greece for a month now and while I’ve been trying to give you real time snapshots of our travels, it occurs to me that I’ve been remiss in writing about one of Greece’s most ubiquitous features:
 its cats.

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Being cat lovers, those furry felines make up some of our favorite memories. Take the foursome that lived in Hotel Vardia in Kardamili:  Owner, Voula, was as smitten with them as were we, and during our stay she was busy treating one for a cold and  attempting to ‘capture’ that wily white one (above) who kept avoiding her despite the fact he needed a bit of much needed medical work (Voula finally won out  - he was at the vet when we left). 

peloponnese2014 168 Of course, the smallest one immediately wrapped us around his little paw by running to greet us and following us to our room, much as a loyal puppy would do. It was difficult leaving him behind – he was my choice for a souvenir but then he was quite happy at his hotel home.

In each of our stops, the homeless furry ones have nearly caused us heart attacks as they nonchalantly crossed streets without concern for drivers or motorcyclists who came within inches of hitting them.

Then there was the trio, who lived at the Island House Hotel on Ios. Their ferocious cries and snarling made us think we were living below a huge, on-going cat fight as they spent their days and nights in the bougainvillea that framed  the slated roof of our deck.

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It seemed two were always ‘picking’ on the third.  The Scout broke up a ‘fight’ one day and sent them on their way.  The next day we realized it had been simply a lover’s quarrel and they were back ‘together’ again, a menage a trois both literally and figuratively.

We arrived Friday in trendy, touristy Mykonos. Last night as we were munching on a gyro pita at an outdoor cafe  the quietest little cat showed up at the foot of the stool on which I sat.  I’d been people watching and didn’t notice from where it came.  Noiselessly it sat, its stare an intense one.  So compelling was it, that I slipped large portions of the pork  from my pita and would drop chunks when the owner of the place turned his head.

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What a con artist was that one!  Dining done, it walked across the small walkway and jumped up onto his cushion to bathe -- outside the jewelry store where he obviously lives!

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And then once the beauty ritual was over it was time to hop on its chair and wait to be adored by nearly every passing tourist!

We walked past the store again this morning. . . breakfast, I believe, was about to be ice cream!

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Happy Travels to you all and thanks so much for being with us as we wind up our time in Greece. We’ve got one more island to visit before we are off to Istanbul.  We’ve appreciated the comments and emails our tales have prompted.

For you animal lovers out there:  there is a Greek Cat Welfare Society (with a Facebook page) and a Dutch Foundation operates a Greek Cat Rescue with a web page of the same name. Both offer donation options via the web.


  1. Aww, they are lovely! I found some cats like this in a small village in Italy, and they totally won my heart as well. :-)

  2. Hello Jackie and Joel:

    Rather as you, we should find it very difficult not to befriend every cat and, like you, we should certainly have wanted to take that little black and white one home with us for he/she looks very similar to the two we had [sadly both dead now but they had long and happy lives].

    1. Oh Jane and Lance, we so understand. We had two 'boys' who were our furry children for nearly 18 years and once they went to kitty heaven we declared ourselves empty nest-ers and started traveling. They do win and warm ones' hearts. As always thanks for the visit and your comments are always day brighteners.

  3. Love the pose of the cat on the right in the first shot. (I saw a dog sleeping like that near a wharf at the coast, last week.) The last photo is charming -- and all the in between ones are good, too. Looking foward to hearing about your last island in Greece, and your continuing travels...

    1. Andrew, belated thanks for taking time to comment on this post. We are finally back in the land of full-time computers so I am catching up on correspondence. Yes, those furry ones were hard to leave behind. . .

  4. They are all quite the flirty felines, aren't they?! They know how adorable they are this is their ammunition for everything that they achieve! How long will you be in Mykonos?


    1. Poppy, So sorry I didn't respond to this sooner. By the time I saw it we'd moved on to Tinos and were headed for Athens. Then I just got caught up in the whirlwind of big cities and am now catching up on notes. We were in Mykonos for three nights (and as with all of our stops, could certainly have stayed much longer!) Happy weekend to you, xx, Jackie

  5. I loved this article. Most travel articles focus on food and beaches, but it's nice to see a different perspective. I grew up going to Greece most summers, and you are absolutely right. The homeless cats are as much of the culture of Greece as a Souvlaki :)

    1. Kalispera Tanya! What a wonderful blog you have and how fun to have a Greek community in Boston. Wish I lived close enough to meet you but we are in Seattle. You are so lucky having grown up with summers in Greece. . .we are making up for lost years and visiting as often as possible. Hope you'll be a regular here as we have lots more Greek tips and tales coming up!


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