Philippine Cats

Cats. They are truly mysterious and beautiful creatures, wherever you meet them. In the Philippines, they are commonly seen all over the place. They attend to their daily needs in the middle of Manila, in a local shopping mall, on the beach, near a house or wherever. Not all cats are lucky: often they were injured somehow and their wounds have not healed completely. Many of them do without (part of) their tail, possibly as a result of an encounter with a less than friendly human. On our main page you will find a few links to websites of organisations such as CARA or Network for Animals that try to help cats and other animals. This page is a tribute to all those wonderful furry creatures that also inhabit the Philippines.

Tourist on a touristy island
For a visit to our first furry friend, we take you to the tourist island resort of Boracay, famous for its coralsand white beaches, the bars, extracurricular activities and, of course, the night life. Take a boat in Caticlan and you will be dropped off at the quay on the island where you can take a tricycle to Station 3. There you will most likely run into this fellow. Not far from the main street is the Network for Animals shelter. Please do drop in for a visit, they're only too happy to show you how they lovingly care for needy animals with the few resources that they have. This chap however still seems quite capable to fend for himself ...

Enjoying a shady spot by the pond
This young lady is clearly enjoying her freedom in the garden of this house in Kalibo. We have no idea how long she had already been lingering around the house, but most likely already for weeks. Shy at first she quickly rose to the occasion as soon as it became clear to her that we were offering copious amounts of delicious food and soon we became friends. Mimi turned out to be a very loving and friendly cat with a remarkable willingness to give her trust to humans, despite sporting a relatively fresh cut on her right hand side of which we can only assume it was done by people. According to international guidelines for Animal Welfare, we had her sterilised and then allowed her to roam around freely again. We hope that with the proper care and attention, she will make this her home for quite some time to come. Het friend Momo is always on time for dinner, but is still too shy to be examined more closely, well at least for the time being.

Fishing out at sea
A number of cats live near the magnificent beach of Jawili (Tangalan), where they enjoy a very varied environment. The palmtrees directly on the beach and the forest situated more inland provide adequate shade and, of course, the beach itself provides plenty of opportunity for a relaxing stroll, even when you're a cat. It's not known weather these cats venture out as far inland as the nearby falls, e.g. to bathe themselves in the nice cool water just like humans do. This fellow appears to apply for a ride on this fishing boat to be able to inspect the catch of the day (or perhaps even get a taste of it), but in any case this boat sharpens the climbing skills while providing entertainment as well.

Fort Santiago, Manila: plenty of shade
We return to the capital Manila for our visit to Fort Santiago. The fort has had its fair share of historic events, e.g. it served as the prison of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal who was killed by Spanish colonial forces charged with rebellion. During the 2nd World War, the fort served first as the American headquarters and subsequently as that of the Japanese occupation force. During the battle of Manila many hundreds of American and Philippine Prisoners Of War were killed by the Japanese in the dungeons previously used for gunpowder storage where they were kept under abysmal circumstances. The cats here on the other hand seem to be able to live quite well here, so they reproduce vividly. This particular lady was pregnant when we met her while she was resting in the shade of a park bench. Hordes of schoolkids receive part of their national history training here on site and their noise sometimes disturbs the cats. Fortunately, they are not yet conditioned, as adults often are, to chase cats away and some share their lunch with the animals. That is, if they would bother to take keen notice of their surroundings because the cats blend in very well while the kids are busy playing and chatting.

Having a rest
The rather violent history of his home clearly does not impress this young chap, but I cannot help wondering how his ancestors lived here while the Spanish were still firmly in charge of their colony. Reasonably well fed he awaits some sign of affection or, as he would prefer, a bite to eat. We found him near the entrance of the complex where a number of antiquated guns are on exhibit. The drivers of the horse-drawn carriages, called Calesa that are parked in the shade while waiting for customers, sometimes share part of their lunch with the cats. Tourists also take an interest in the cats' wellbeing and so feed them occasionally. Even some local folk appear to do the right thing and give the cats what they can spare. Unlike this tomcat, the horses have to work for their living in the heat and polluted air of the nation's capital. Sometimes they pull carriages of 6 grown ups through the busy streets past the tourist attractions such as Rizal Park or along 4 lane-wide Roxas Boulevard, often in temperatures of 30 centigrade or more. You're better off as a cat in Fort Santiago I would imagine!

Sometimes life can be good
Next we head for the province of Antique where we encounter a sleeping cat in the equally sleepy sea-side town of Sebaste. This one is clearly enjoying its safe and quiet surroundings: behind a house with a a wall at some 50m away from the beach. We can very clearly see the typical injury of the tail often seen with cats in the Philippines: a piece of the tail is missing, possibly broken or cut off, and the tip is now shaped like a knob. Whether this has happened as a result of an accident or whether it is due to human intervention (let alone with malintent) is as yet unknown. But whatever it was, it must have been an extremely painful event for the poor animal. Fortunately, our friend here has found a good spot to ponder on yet another no doubt very busy day.

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