I love cats; everybody who knows me know that.
When I backpacked solo in Europe for 70 days, I had to pay my neighbors for almost three months to feed my three cats at home. I have to admit I worried about the lack of feline company on my travels; how could I last so long without these beautiful creatures?
It turned out that I shouldn’t have worried. I met a lot of cats in Europe—Lemmy, Blanche, Mussel, and Chiminey in Belgium; Tamiro and Pedro in Hamburg; cutie Dormi in Budapest; Cinccina in Firenze; and yes, the countless cats I’ve seen, petted, and admired in Greece.
All the cats in Europe I’d seen were very fluffy and huggable. Unfortunately, most of them were not so friendly to strangers and would scratch, bite, or hiss whenever I would go near. Lemmy from Belgium was an exception. Because I stayed the longest there, he learned to tolerate me until I eventually gained his trust by lying still while he made me his living scratching post.
There were other memorable ones too. In Budapest, Hungary, Dormi’s human was out of town when I arrived (she was my Couchsurfing host) so it was Dormi who greeted me when I came in. I was in a funky mood around that time, so I mostly stayed in the apartment playing with her until my host arrived a few days later.
I’ve seen the most cats in Greece. I was walking towards the Acropolis in Athens when I saw a woman feeding 20 or so cats around her. “Here’s a real, live crazy cat lady,” I thought. Then I took it back, because she was really nice, feeding a lot of stray cats out of her own pocket. When you know that Greece is/was in financial crisis, you would understand how selfless her action had been.
I saw a lot in Santorini, too. While most were aloof, some would come when you call them. I don’t know if it’s their location, but they were the loveliest cats I’d seen in Europe.
The sweetest cat I’d met though was in Florence, Italy. I was staying with a Couchsurfing member whose 15th-century house had a huge yard (complete with fruit trees, sculptures, ponds, and turtles), lots of rooms, ancient furnishings, dozens of oil paintings and a couple of chandeliers. He had a black cat named Cincinna who slept beside me at night and who had to be tickled to wake up in the mornings. I missed her a lot when I moved on to Padova, Venezia, and Verona.
I was really grateful to my friends and Couchsurfing hosts for letting me share their cats with them. Backpacking solo for 70 days in a foreign continent is definitely not easy. I got homesick for a while and wanted to go home. If not for the cats I’d met along the way, my trip wouldn’t have been as memorable!
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I love these cats, and your photography rocks. This is so adorable – I travel too much to have a cat, but I’m planning my future as a cat lady right now.
I miss my cats so much too! I always get way too excited when I see a cute kitty on the street, I need to start taking pictures of them too. these pictures are sooooo cute!!
Europe then gives cat lovers a feast for their eyes. The kitties you’ve met are just too cute and too cuddly for words! Chiminey reminds me of Sabrina’s (the teenage witch) black cat Luna with her emerald green eyes!
@ Jonna: I’ve seen that picture of Rue dressed up. My cats would never stand for that hehe They don’t even like wearing a collar!
@ Pigol Benis: Yeah, they’re beautiful creatures. Didn’t see a lot though, but then, I only went to Rome, Firenze, Pisa, Padova, Venezia, and Verona. Would love to go back and stay much longer in Italy!
Living in Italy for two years gave me an opportunity to see lots and lots of kitty cats. There was metric tons of good pussy in Europe. I hope they don’t get abused because they don’t hurt anyone.
OMG beautiful kitties! I am crazy about cats, too! Qish & Rue have their own blog written from their point of view teehee.
The biggest “challenge” for me whenever I travel is leaving the kitties behind. Fortunately I have a very good catsitter for weekend trips and my mom is more than willing to spoil my cats when I leave for longer periods of time. We should a have playdate with our kitties! I bring Rue to places where pets are allowed (usually Ayala Triangle Gardens or Greenbelt) and she loves dressing up, too! 🙂
@ Kat: Thanks!
@ Nancie: Thanks. Nice to meet another traveler who’s also a cat lover! Love the name too–Indy, as in Indiana Jones right? 😉
I’m a cat lover. I always miss Indy a lot when I’m traveling, so it’s always nice to meet other cats wherever I go. Your shots are fantastic.
Love the cats and shots! 🙂
@ Lisa: I can imagine Emma’s face when she went to the kitten and found it a paperweight! Yes, there were a lot in Greece and Italy but not so many outside their houses elsewhere in Europe.
@ Marcia: Thanks, yeah Cincinna is very pretty!
@ Cathy: Lemmy–despite his gruff attitude–is really very sweet. 🙂
Little Belgium Lemmy does look very sweet. I’m glad you were able to find feline companionship on your travels. Cute, cute pics!
You’ve got some really cute cats here, Aleah. Love the last one.
My younger daughter gets excited every time we see a cat in Europe – there always seem to be quite a few wandering around! We thought we found a really tiny kitten sleeping on a pile of linens outside a shop on Mykonos but it turned out to be a very life-like paperweight – Emma was very disappointed! Love your new header!!
@ Becca: Love them so I always take pics of them in my travels 😀
@ Jenny: Most of the ones I saw outside Greece looked healthy. In Greece I saw a lot of stray ones and they didn’t look so well cared for 🙁
Unfortunately I’m allergic to cats but I love dogs and feel the same way about them on my travels as you do with cats. So nice to have a reminder of home along the way! These cats look particularly well cared for…lucky cats
How adorable that you caught all these pics of cats around the world – they were awesome to look at! I hope you will consider linking your post up to Friday Daydremin’ this week too!!
@ Maria: Yeah, getting a visa for Europe is very difficult for us. We have to prove we won’t stay illegally and proving it can be very stressful. Love Santorini though. If I have a visa, I’d probably be back there again now!
@ Sabrina: The ones in Greece look like strays. They live in the park on the way to the Acropolis. The other cats I met lived with my Couchsurfing hosts 🙂 Lucky me!
Lovely cat pics. They really don’t like like strays, so you must have met some nice house cats on the road 🙂
I don’t like cats that much, but absolutely love that first photo! Then again, I am Santorini biased! ;D
that’s really cool you got to backpack around Europe for 70 days solo. I’ve done lots of solo hitchhiking and traveling, but mostly throughout the Middle East (but I also didn’t Iceland, Rome, Madrid, Morocco, etc. etc.). Couchsurfing, too! I am addicted to the community. By the way, thanks for helping me learn something new today: I didn’t know what the Schengen visa was until I read your post about Europe ;D
– Maria Alexandra
@ Jackie: Thanks. They are really pretty aren’t they? 😀
@ Jäde: I wish I also like dogs. Would be nice to run with one everyday!
It seems that everyone loves cats nowadays… they get so much more love and internet time than dogs! haha
We are kindred souls – my love of cats knows no bounds. Of course we are pretty taken with the friendly little mutts that always befriend us as well. Love your photos today!
@ Marisol: Too bad you’re allergic! They’re really beautiful creatures. I also remember seeing a lot of stray dogs in Santorini. There were a lot near the hostel I stayed in. Everytime a car passes by, they would bark and chase after it!
@ Mary: Sigh, another allergic reader hahaha I only saw one–ONE–cat when I was in Denmark. I guess in most countries in northern Europe the cats remain indoors. I loved Greece and Italy precisely because I saw a lot of them outside!
Beautiful collection of cat pictures, Aleah! I’m glad they kept you company along the way. We can’t have cats as pets since hubby is allergic but I’m sure my kids would love to see them. I don’t remember seeing many that stood out while in Europe or maybe we just weren’t looking hard enough 🙂 BTW, love the new header!
Hi Aleah,those are beayutiful photos of cats. They’re so adorable. Too bad I developed an allery to cats and can’t go near them. Funny I didn’t see much cats in Santorini, but I saw TONS of stray dogs.
@ Fifi Leigh: Yeah, it’s a very difficult time for Greece now. It’s certainly the pets and other animals which suffer first.
@ Koen: Maybe you didn’t try hard enough? I managed to kiss him a few times without him knowing 😀
Yes Aleah, Lemmy gave me deep comfort in those dark times…I tried to kiss him;-) and i will give my love to Blanche and Mazzel as well…beautiful pics by the way…
cool photos and cute cats. i love animals. they are so cute and sweet, like furry children. i have one cat right now. i have also been all over greece in summer of 86. it is a beautiful country, but i felt sorry for many animals there, cats, dogs, donkeys, camels, etc. some where homeless, while others were starving. it is sad that no one can properly help them before they die.
@ Bundokaholics: Well, nobody can really resist these beautiful creatures, right? 😉
@ Andrea: Saw a lot of cats in Rome too! There was a really sweet one in the Colosseum. Wish somebody could have taken a pic while she was asking me to pet her!
I’m definitely a crazy cat lady as well…many of my pictures from Italy are of the adorable cats that roam the streets and ruins!
Haha. Just thinking of Nina at the top of the article, and wondering if she had read this already. I shouldn’t have doubted that. Lols.
Cat lovers unite! 🙂
@ Koen: I hope Lemmy gave you comfort. Give my kisses to him, please, as well as to Blanche and Mussel!
@ Nina: Pretty, aren’t they? 😀
I agree totally…cats are the most beautiful, charming and mysterious creatures on earth…they can comfort you in times when we have to struggle with life…