Raining Cats & Dogs


Photo Tim MirkinPhoto Tim Mirkin
 Tel Aviv has one of the highest numbers of dogs per capita in the world —1 for every 17 residents. The situation is such that it is hard to walk down a street without finding at least one dog on a leash and sometimes several attached to the same person. Even I got already bitten by a dog, in an episode to be described in full gruesome details in a later post.

Yes, it’s difficult to walk in any street of Tel Aviv and not find man’s best four legged friend, but, at the same time, it is almost impossible not to find a Tel Aviv street without its own army of starving cats. Tel Aviv switched the roles, dogs got the apartments, cats got the streets. But how is it possible to have so many cats and so many dogs living in the same city without a raging civil war?

In Tel Aviv cats and dogs seem to fulfill different social roles. The dog is the friend for all season, the partner single people go home to, couples rely because of the ridiculously high real estate prices do not allow them to have children, or simply the kid’s breathing toy for the lucky couples who can afford to raise a family in Tel Aviv. Dogs are obedient, friendly, and faithful in a city where very few things are. They go the extra mile, even if the owner just needs the kilometer.

The cat is the Robin Hood of the streets, jumping from roof to roof, living out of the little compassion Tel Avivians are able to spare from their tough city life. Unlike dogs, cats don’t give a shit about anything or anyone, and if they do, they require litter or a hole that they dig themselves. A cat is a mini tiger, too lazy to attack and too busy to answer when you call his name. 

None of them is interested in attacking the other. The dogs don’t want to attack the cats who own the streets and the cats know it’s hard to be attacked when your attacker is on a leash–except if you are in the Dungeon (http://www.jpost.com/Blogs/Oleh-Chadash-Chadash/Dungeon-515667).

In other cities cats get the apartments so they can get in and out and not be noticed, be the splash of color. The dogs get the streets because people with low moral fiber don’t want to get emotionally attached and end up dumping them there. But Tel Aviv seems to be different. People are lonely and require the obedience and emotional attachment dogs provide and leave the creatures who don’t give a damn for the streets where people can occasionally feed them and not see them as often. 

The air of Tel Aviv is for the noisy ravens who watch all this and wonder–why be fed by humans when you can just steal their food?