The cats here eat cucumber. And tomato. I don’t just mean nibble the edges or lick the surface. They actually eat salad vegetables. The first time I noticed this I was sitting at a restaurant on the shore and the cats had jumped up to steal food off an abandoned plate. The cats stole not only the bread but the cucumber and tomato. “What’s that all about?” you may well ask. I think it is because here there is no grass so they are instinctively attracted to vegetation and moisture.
All the restaurants that ring rhe bay, or any where for that matter have their resident cats. It would be impossible to get rid of them because the restaurants are all relatvely open with no doors or secure areas. The cats come and go as they choose. And they are smart. When they smell that someone has been served food worthy of their attention they sit quietly on the floor sussing out their prospective meal provider – the hapless tourist. Expert body language decipherers, they know who they can disconcert, whom they have to obey, whom they can cajole and smooze. Generally they are not too cheeky, politely waiting.
They know the instant you put your cutlery down as finished. You can eat and leave your cutlery on your plate between bites and they don’t move a muscle but as sson as you have taken the last bite, they know and they are sitting in the seat beside you in a flash. If the diner leaves the table before the plate is cleared, it is free for all. They jump up at the table and make a grab for the scraps – order of preference would usuallly be protein – fish, chicken red meat, then bread – hamburger, pizza, then cucumber and tomato. The only remains are lettuce and lemon.
They are also thieves so some vigilance is required especially if seated at a bedouin style restaurant with mattresses on the ground. They sidle up to you like coy children and sit very quietly beside you eyeing your plate with one eye and your vigilance with the other. As soon as you so much as glance away, they pounce hauling whatever they can off your plate and bolting off. I now have no doubt how cats have enough speed to catch mice considering how fast they hunt pizza. I have seen a whole pizza being snatched to the ground by a lightning paw. In that case the loot was too heavy for the cat to escape with but once it had touched the ground, game over. The guest did not want to eat it anyway.
Fresh water is also a big problem. The water that is sprayed around on the pavements is salty and there is no rain so there are never any fresh water puddles. Kind tourists often fill up clean ash trays with drinking water for them.
The restaurants run a running battle with the cats, not wanting lose their custom to feline con artists so some restuarants to discourage them (the cats) will provide guests with spray bottles filled with water . A few sprays in the face and the cats quickly learn it will not be pleasant dining at that table. Some guests go over board though, sparying every cat in sight regardless of innocence. Or they encourage the chidren (whom I would rather see sprayed than the cats in most instances) to run around the restaurant spraying every cat in sight.
Some people are so afraid of every animal I can’t believe they live on this planet with fellow creatures. A cat or dog only has to look at them and they start screaming. A friend of mine has a theory that people who can’t relate animals also have problems relating to humans and they are sexually repressed. A cat looks at them and they jump up aaahhhh. Everytime we witnessed someone overeracting to contact with animals, we would smirk at each other knowingly rolling our eyes, “Yea, definitely sexually repressed.” Get over yourselves people! You really aren’t that important in the scheme of things.
The sad thing is these cats live and love around the retaurants so there are always constnat supply of kittens. Cute as, but problematic for the continually burgeoning cat population. No one likes to see skinny starved cats so the restaurants encourage the children to take the kittens and then sell them to tourists. The tourists don’t like to see the kittens being mistreated so they pay for the kitten and release it. The kids have a new business of taking and selling kittens and puppies who then have no mother and usually die anyway. Or worse, the unsupervised bored children torture them to death. Horrible.
Or the restaurants catch the cats put them in boxes and dump them in the deserts where there is little hope of food and no hope of water. I once found a poor mite crying pitifully in a rubblish dump some kilometres from town.I wrapped him up in a sweater, carried him back on my horse and put him the tack room where he ate and drank. Of course my ‘work’mate who is allergic to both work and animals let him out (or kicked him out) before I came the next day…cat disappeared. It would be nice to think he survived on the rubbish bin at the corner but it wasn’t long after I noticed that particular nauseating stink of death. I suspect he went off somehwere to die. I really dislike my sexually repressed stablehand, lazy male.
There are not many expats living here that escape without adopting some pet, be it dog or cat…unless they are sexually repressed of course. I currently have 4 cats at home, 4 cats at the the stable and 2 dogs….