“Cats are a mysterious kind of folk. There is more
passing in their minds than we are aware of.”
Sir Walter Scott
It seems fitting to start my series of post about Rich’s and my recent European trip with the cats of Mallorca, Spain. Unlike tourist spots, routinely shared in books and online, they cats were unexpected delights from cats with ordinary coats to those who were all white or part Siamese.
The capital and largest town on Mallorca is Palma. The remainder of the island is primarily dotted with quaint small towns and fishing villages, citrus, almond, and olive groves, and historical and geological attractions intertwined in the dramatic landscape.
Wild and somewhat domesticated cats — perhaps because of their tenacity at taming rodent populations — roamed freely wherever we went. One of the first cats we saw was at Sa Calobra, a small seaside village on the northwest coast of the island. It was late in the day, and we went into a cafeteria, one of the few places open during the winter. We split plates of seafood paella, meatballs and potatoes, bread, olives allioli, baked ribs, and a large mug of fresh-squeezed orange juice.
The restaurant smelled heavenly, a mix of cooked food, and smoke from a wood stove, used to heat the dining room. A light-colored cat with a white chest and paws lounged in front of the stove, happy to be admired and caressed by visitors.
After eating, we took a walk along the coast, spotting several other cats, darting between the few buildings and narrow streets. Two young, all white cats played in a planter box, scarcely taking notice of Rich and I who spent several minutes trying to catch their attention.
A few days later, we ambled between the towns of Sollar, Fornalutx, and Biniaraix. At the start of our walk, we encountered a beautiful, part Siamese cat with blue eyes that followed us like a dog hopping onto the stone walls, zigzagging between our legs, and meowing when we pet its head. After ten or fifteen minutes, she decided to stay behind as we journeyed along the stone pathways and cobblestone streets through orchards, farmsteads, and the towns.
Along with seeing an occasional goat and numerous sheep – the bells around their necks complementing the lovely ambience – we saw many cats, lounging on balconies, darting into doorways, and watching passersby from the safety of a planter box or stairwell. It was challenging photographing because they weren’t tame or at least, interested in our affections.
A day later, we visited the Coves De Campanet, a magnificent cave that is accessible through a carved passage on top of a hill. In front of the cave is restaurant with a beautiful terrace, overlooking the valley, orchards, and small farms below. The establishment has 16 cats, many of whom were stretched out, enjoying the afternoon sun, including a majestic, long-haired red cat, which welcomed the attention and was proud to flaunt its beauty.
Check out the many cats of Mallorca, above, along with a couple of pigeons in an picturesque window.