While strolling through Plaka’s shop-filled streets you’ll spot bags, toys, calendars and purses celebrating the Greek cat, and just a little further on you’ll meet the whiskered stars in person, relaxing in the sun on an ancient rock, squinting majestically in the foreground of stunning city views, delicately nibbling at food delivered by dedicated neighbors and looking furry, furry cute. T
he approximately 40 friendly cats whose stomping grounds are the most scenic part of the historical center, belong to a colony that’s mainly cared for by super-active cat-loving organization Nine Lives Greece, which has neutered the majority of them (clipped ears are an international sign that cats have been sterilized), and provides medical care as well as food handed out by local volunteers. Some, like tabby-white Beba, who has lived there for many years and suffers from allergies due to her very sensitive skin, have even been put on a hypoallergenic diet for a while!
Although Athens’ cats are known and loved by most locals (there’s even a flute-playing street performer whose live “gigs” at the foot of the Acropolis have an appreciative daily audience of around 20 cats, which he feeds), the sad fact is that they daily face multiple dangers from disease, poisoning, dog attacks or cars, and according to Nine Lives, don’t usually live to celebrate their second birthday…
• To donate to Nine Lives: www.ninelivesgreece.com
• If you’re around on November 14, shop at Ninelives’ Autumn Bazaar (Diotima Hall, Arcadia Center, 26 Embedokleous St., Pagrati, Opening Hours: 14:00 – 20:00)