Nestled between the Adriatic Sea and towering mountains is Kotor, Montenegro. It’s a medieval marvel. But the true charm? The cats.
Why Cats Rule Kotor
Upon your first steps into Kotor, it’s not the ancient structures that catch your eye. It’s the cats. Hundreds of them. They lounge in alleyways, play by cafes, and bask in the town’s historic glow.
Food bowls dot the streets. Cats, well-fed and content, are everywhere. So, why the feline fascination? Oxana Troshina, owner of “Cats of Kotor” shop, has an answer. In Kotor, cats equal luck. This isn’t a new trend. Decades ago, homes welcomed cats through special flaps in their doors. They’ve always been cherished guests.
Some believe cats symbolize Kotor’s resilience. The town endured wars, sieges, and a major earthquake. Yet, it thrives. Others think sailors brought the cats during a 1918 revolt. They see a link between Kotor’s Italian name “Cattaro” from its Venetian days and the influx of felines.
Kotor’s Venetian roots run deep. The town was crafted by the Venetian Republic, symbolized by the lion. “Lions, like cats, are revered here,” Oxana shares.
Caring for Kotor’s Cats
Cats aren’t just symbols. They’re residents. “Kotor Kitties” is proof. This charity, formed in 2018, looks after the rising street cat population. By April 2023, they neutered 8,862 cats. It’s a testament to the town’s commitment to its furry citizens.
Beyond Cats: Kotor’s Rich Heritage
Cats are just one chapter of Kotor’s tale. The town is a double UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s history-rich. Ancient gates greet visitors. The 12th-century Venetian fortifications stand tall. And the San Giovanni castle offers stunning bay views.
Foodies find a paradise in Kotor. The menu? Fresh seafood, garlic-stuffed squid, and local Vranac wine. Markets entice with cured meats, cheeses, and spirits.
Vlasta Mandic, an architect, played a role in Kotor’s restoration after the 1979 earthquake. She, like many, loves Kotor’s cats. To her, they symbolize the town’s enduring spirit.
In Kotor, history, beauty, and cats intertwine. It’s a town where past meets present, and cats are both its guardians and its heart.