It may be a dog-eat-dog world, but cats rule in Croatia! Seven days ago, I land at Dubrovnik on EasyJet. I am excited to experience this country’s seaside and mountains. Little did I know that my fondest memories will be the cats I meet along the way.
Croatian Cats are funny, feisty and friendly felines. When they look in your eyes, you see trust and curiosity. Each steals my heart starting with the beautiful calico I meet laying on a wharf at the seashore in Dubrovnik. I pet this cat and instantly feel some of tiredness from traveling slip away.
Every cat lover knows the dopamine rush of having a cat snuggle in your lap or rub your legs. They need us and we need them. But my calico is only the first of many cats—black, white, tabby, tiger striped and grey—that I meet in Dubrovnik. They roam the street and talk (meow) to visitors. Sometimes an older cat will consent to sit in your lap or let you pet him.
The kittens are rambunctious and want to play—leaf toss, string dangle or pebble toss. The cats I meet appear well-cared for given the softness of their fur and their overall health. But I did find one young black cat playing on the wharf who has a lump on her neck. I know this is not a good sign. There are probably scores of street cats that need preventive health care.
I am so relieved that there is a charitable organization like SOS Dubrovnik Cats that wants to help these cats. I write to the organization after I return to the U.S. through their Facebook page. I receive an immediate response: “We are based in England and Ireland but travel to Croatia several times a year. Fortunately we have some cat-friendly friends and carers in Dubrovnik and surrounding areas. They feed and care for numerous street cats on top of their own throughout the year and in many locations. They manage the best they can, even with their own busy lives, work and personal expense—especially in high season.”
These felines are as important to the Dubrovnik tourist industry as any tour attraction or guide. For a cat lover like me, the Dubrovnik Cats steal my heart … and I predict they will have a similar impact on you when you visit Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Please consider making a charitable contribution to SOS Dubrovnik Cats! It will help fund their work to spay and neuter so the cats don’t overpopulate and become a civic problem. For more info, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Postscript: I received a thank you email from Gayle after I made a donation. “Thank you very much for raising the awareness of SOS DUBROVNIK on your blog. I am so glad you met so many lovely cats and ones in good shape when you visited. Unfortunately, it is a different situation in so many other areas in Dubrovnik surrounding areas and some of the islands that we haven’t been able to get to. We’re trying hard to support the local catchers to get in as many as possibel before they’re pregnant again but it’s a massive job and not many people do it who have experience.”