Cats of Jerusalem have a purr-fect holiday

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August 8, 2019 18:14
1 minute read.
Cats of Jerusalem have a purr-fect holiday

A JERUSALEM alley cat.. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

August 8, 2019 marks the 17th annual International Cat Day, but Jerusalem's local feline residents hardly seem to notice the difference.

Created in 2002 by the international fund for animal welfare, International Cat Day is celebrated around the world to raise awareness and to appreciate man's – if not best, then oft-indifferent – friend.

In Israel, feral cats are said to be as common as squirrels in the US, and their presence is a defining characteristic of everyday life in the Jewish state. Brought by the British in the 20th century to deal with Mandatory Palestine's rat problem, the population of cats in Israel has since skyrocketed, with some estimates putting the feral cat population at around two million strong.

For comparison, in 2018 the population of haredim was only around one million.

Cats are especially prominent in Jerusalem, with some estimates placing their population at around 300,000 cats.

To accommodate the massive feral cat population and to show appreciation to the city's feline population, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion announced in January that the municipality set up feeding stations for stray cats in the city with an NIS 100,000 annual budget.

Despite the massive population in the capital, some have noticed that many cats in Jerusalem have been disappearing, particularly from neighborhoods like Nahlaot and Arnona.

As such, the feline enthusiasts in the city have been extra vigilant for them, and many – heeding the mayor's advice – have left out bowls of water for the cats, keeping in mind the brutal summer heat.

However, cats hardly seem to notice that today is an international holiday dedicated to them. But to those that know and appreciate their typically aloof and haughty nature, this is unsurprising, with many of them rhetorically asking "But isn't every day Cat Day?"


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