Jerusalem to host first-ever cat marathon

Events to include garbage scavenging events, a dog chase, and a community tuna-eating contest.

March 7, 2012 22:21
2 minute read.
J'lem cats in training claw their way ahead.

Jerusalem cats DO NOT USE 390. (photo credit: Syrup Levin)

Jerusalem will host the first-ever marathon for street cats next month, Mayor Nir Barkat announced on Wednesday, surrounded by the Israeli National Champion Cat Racing Team.

In addition to the full 42.2 km race, there will also be garbage scavenging events, a dog chase, and a community tuna-eating contest, the mayor announced at the dumpster on Agrippas Street next to the shuk, the central meeting point for street cats in the capital.

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“I am thrilled to be able to extend my dedication to promoting sports and spirituality to another sector of Jerusalem,” said Barkat. “This event reinforces my belief that there are 19 billion religious street cats around the world that would give their last can of tuna to come visit Jerusalem, and it is important for us to recognize and celebrate all parts of the city, including the residents of our dumpsters,” he said.

Feline activists were quick to denounce the event as a sneaky attempt to rid the city of homeless cats.

“This is just another attempt by the mayor to run us around the city, and after 42 kilometers it’s clear that many of us will be too exhausted and confused to find their way back to their home garbage bins,” said Srulik Hatula, a tan tabby who is the president of the “Cats Are People too, Or Maybe Not People, But They Have Rights, Wait, Is That a Chicken Bone Over There?” cat activist group. He spoke through a translator imported from Tel Aviv who understands cat.

Hatula advocated for a less complex route for the runners, perhaps one that could follow the bus route through Agrippas Street.

But cat racing champion Gato Jose, a half-Siamese black and tan immigrant from Argentina who made aliyah after sneaking on a round-the-world cruise ship in 2002, welcomed the mayor’s proposal.

“Rooting around in garbage cans is a delicate art, and it is about time that the city of Jerusalem recognize our dedication,” he said.

The winner of the race will receive a year’s supply of Katli cat food, an Amidar apartment in - where else - Kikar Hatulim, and an honorary seat on the Jerusalem city council.

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