Life

The World’s “Holy Land for Lustling Cats”: A Group of Cats, a City

  Russians are keen on keeping cats. According to a survey, more than half of the Russians are or have been working as cat “shit shovel officers”. St. Petersburg, a famous historical city in Russia, is a paradise for cat lovers. There are many statues of cats in the city, full of artistic atmosphere, just like a large “cat village”.
  The history of large-scale cat breeding in St. Petersburg can be traced back to the 18th century, when every family raised cats in the barn to repel rats. It is said that a cat at that time was expensive.
  The Hermitage is one of the famous cat gathering places in St. Petersburg. The cats here have guarded the palace for hundreds of years to keep the rats away, and they are “organized”. When not on duty, they live in the basement of the Winter Palace. People here designate April 6 every year as “Cat Guardian Day”. At that time, the Winter Palace will also hold a special painting exhibition, and the excellent cat-themed paintings created by children will be exhibited here. The cats in the Hermitage also inspired the creation of artists. The novel “Anna and the Cats in the Hermitage” and the musical “The Cats in the Hermitage Saved My Day” were all works given to them by the artists.
  Even if these cat guards “retire”, they can “care for themselves”. A cat lover who had worked in the Hermitage for many years built a cat museum – “Cat Republic”. Many cat guardians who “retired” from the Hermitage, if not adopted, came to the museum to spend their old age. Tickets are required to enter the museum, and some people jokingly call this a visa fee for entering the “Republic of Cats”. According to reports, this “Cat Republic” on Jakibovic Street is also the largest cat cafe in Europe.
  St. Petersburg has a collection of unique cat statues, which tell the unique cultural and historical stories of the city. These statues have become landmarks of the city, and many tourists come here admiringly. The most famous is the statue of “The Learned Cat”, which is tied to a tree by a golden chain and is absorbed in reading a book with a line inscribed on it – “Happiness is where you are”. The learned cat comes from Pushkin’s poem “Ruslan and Lyudmila”: “On the shore of the blue bay there was a green oak tree, and a cat was tied to a golden chain. The cat kept walking around, every time to the right. It sings a song every time it takes a step, and it tells a story every time it takes a step to the left.” The spectacle frame of Erudite Cat is touched shiny, because people believe that touching the frame can bring good luck to oneself who is about to take an exam. Russian children especially like the cartoon “Kitten Leopold”, the protagonist is a wise kitten, which is probably another interpretation of the learned cat.
  The cat statue located on the campus of St. Petersburg State University is called “Science Cat”, which commemorates those experimental cats who have contributed to scientific research. On the base of the statue of Science Cat, there is a sentence engraved: “Human beings should be infinitely grateful to Science Cats. They have helped humans make a lot of scientific discoveries in the field of physiology.”
  On the roof of the building beside Sadovaya Street in Malaya On the eaves, there is also a pair of famous “Wishing Cat” statues. The statues of two cats, one male and one female, record a heavy history of the city. During World War II, cats had to be brought in from places like Siberia to save the city from a severe rat infestation due to an epidemic caused by an infested rat population. On Maratha Street, there is also a statue of a cat “walking” on the eaves and wearing a blue and white striped shirt. It is called “art cat” and its name is “Mitki”. It is a local art troupe. name. This statue is a tribute to the artist. On Kanoniersky Island in St. Petersburg, there is also an iconic “art cat” statue. This cat wears a checkered cap and a silk scarf, with a melancholy expression and his hands in his trouser pockets, like a pair of cats. Cool artist image.
  In the Griboyedov Canal Market, you can buy many unique souvenirs with cat patterns, such as refrigerator magnets, backpacks, handbags, etc. The common pattern is to combine the name of St. Petersburg, landmark buildings and the image of cats. It is not difficult to see that people have already regarded cats as the symbol of “Cat Village”.
Dutch ‘cat boat’ floats for half a century

  ◎ Xiaoyan There is a special boat on the canal near the central railway station
  in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. It has been parked here for more than 50 years. It is the famous “cat boat”.
  The story of the cat boat begins when a local lady named Weld took in her first stray cat in 1966. Soon, the stray cats taken in by Weld and sent by others could not live in her home, so in 1968, living by the canal, she bought an old boat and transformed the interior of the hull as a The place where cats live, this is the first generation of cat boats. After all, the boat is old. Three years later, the dilapidated first-generation catboat was “decommissioned” and replaced with the second-generation catboat. But the second-generation cat boat only lasted for 8 years. In 1979, there was this cat boat that people see now. From 2001 to 2002, related personnel carried out a comprehensive overhaul and maintenance of the cat boat, and also renovated and decorated some structures.
  Since the cat boat was built, many enthusiastic cat lovers have come to help as volunteers. The development of Maochuan keeps advancing with the times. In 2003, Maochuan had its first website; in 2007, it had its own newspaper; in the last 10 years, it has successively entered various social platforms. According to government requirements, cat boats can be open to tourists and accept donations and donations, but they cannot rely on ticket revenue to maintain operations. For this reason, many cats have to go out to “work to support their families”. It is understood that more than 100 cats in the cat boat are leased to dozens of cat cafes, and the rent earned is used to “supplement the family”.
  Today, hundreds of tourists board the cat boats every day during the open days 3 days a week. Volunteers will post cat portraits in every corner of the cat boat, noting their names and personalities. The cat boat also functions as a stray cat adoption training center, providing training for those who seek to adopt stray cats, and popularizing cat raising knowledge to the public.
Greece’s “Cat Island”, 70,000 people apply for “shit shovel officer”

  ◎ Zhang Kexin
  Greece is famous for its large number of stray cats. On an island with many tourists like Santorini, there are many tourists who feed cats, so cats naturally have no worries about eating and drinking. But on some relatively remote islands, cats with insufficient food will also support themselves by going to the beach to catch fish to eat. A few years ago, the documentary “Cats of Syros” was broadcast, which aroused the world’s attention to the island and its cats. This “cat island” has also recruited “shit shovel officers” around the world.
  This small island with an area of ​​more than 80 square kilometers is located in the sea about 150 kilometers southeast of Athens. There are only more than 20,000 residents on the island, but there were thousands of stray cats. The documentary tells that when a British couple came to Syros Island for vacation, they were full of sympathy for the poor cats, so they sold their house in the UK and moved to Syros Island to set up a cat shelter to save and take in stray cats. But the growing cat population quickly overwhelmed them and eventually led to bankruptcy. Fortunately, many cat lovers donated money to support this cat shelter on the island.
  In 2018, Syros Island recruited “shit shovel officers” around the world. For cat lovers, the working environment of the “poop shoveler” here is really good. Not only can they live with cats, but they can also be accompanied by the sunshine, waves and beaches of the Aegean Sea. According to reports, more than 70,000 people from all over the world applied for the job that year.
  The cats on Syros are basically Aegean cats. Love of water and fish can be said to be a major characteristic of the Aegean cat, which also makes it the best partner for sailors. Cats can protect the supplies on the ship from rats, and their cute “attributes” can help sailors relieve loneliness during the voyage, so they naturally become the darlings of the crew. For this reason, Aegean cats have taken root in many countries around the world along with Greek ships.

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