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April 24, 2011 / Omar J. Peters

Cats all Over in Lima

One of the craziest things I saw on a recent trip to Peru: a park (The Parque Kennedy) infested with cats in Miraflores, Lima.

Sign prohibiting abandoning cats with a cat in foreground.

This blog post explains the story behind the cats:

No-one really knows how the cats came to be here. Some say that once a woman abandoned her pregnant cat in the park and from there they started reproducing. Others say they that they came from the church located in the centre of the park, that they let their cats roam free in order to deal with a rat problem that they used to have. What we do know is that these cats have been here, according to testimony from the older Miraflores residents, for at least 20 years.

Apparently a group of people come daily to bring the cats food and care.

A tiny woman passes between the trees of the park, moving quickly for someone who has two large bags to carry. As she arrives to one particular tree, a group of cats make their way towards her across the grass. They know it’s lunch time. Mariana has been feeding the dozens of cats that live here religiously for 16 years, five times a week. Although she lives in Surco, she brings the food – a mix of chicken liver, rice and commercial cat food – each day without fail. She places and recollects plates on the ground before taking the bus back home. No-one obliges her to do this, she does it out of love for the stray animals that live here.

There is apparently now a problem with people abandoning their unwanted cats to join the pack. The municipality has prohibited adding more cats to the park, but is seemingly not trying to remove the cats already there.

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