The Cats of Lanzarote

This week the BBC has been showing a three part documentary about cats, called Cat Watch 2014 and presented by the lovely Liz Bonnin.  I’ve only seen the first part as I’ve come out to Lanzarote for a short break, however it’s inspired me to do a blog post about the cats of Lanzarote.  Anyone who knows me will know it didn’t take much arm-twisting once the inspiration sprang to mind, I’m a cat fan and self-confessed cat whisperer.

I’ve visited the Canary Islands a few times and have come to understand a bit more about the relationship between Canarians and the cat population.  Just like back home some cats here are kept as pets.  In Lanzarote there can be few cats more spoilt than those owned by Barbarella Buchner, aka The Mad Cat Lady.  Not only does Barbarella dote on her cats, she runs a cat photography business, and owns the excellently named web domain.  And if that didn’t qualify her for ‘mad’ status then her marriage to her cats surely does.  Look here if you don’t believe me!

Sadly not all cats are as lucky as Barbarella’s.  There’s a lot of feral and stray cats in Lanzarote which I guess is down to the environment here.  The year-round nice warm dry days are ideal for cats.  In Playa Blanca where I am right now, many of the strays live amongst the coastal rocks and use them for daytime shade.  In the evening when the cats come to life many tourists are around to feed them.  Some of the cats are so used to people that they’re quite happy to approach people dining on the sea front, and with a purr and flick of the tale they often get treats.

Some of the locals aren’t too keen on all the cats.  I know cats aren’t to everyones taste, and so luckily a charity has been created to help out.  9 Lives Lanzarote runs a neutering programme in an attempt to keep the population under control.  The 9 Lives team have also placed a few Cat Cafe’s (feeding stations) around the island, meaning that the cats get fed and watered, but away from the hotel complexes and the like.

If you like the photos in this blog post then please donate to 9 Lives Lanzarote via their donations page.  If you’d prefer to dontate to a UK charity then look no further than Cats Protection.