When you walk the streets of any Israeli community, the very popular children’s book Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag, springs to mind as you see the proliferation of felines. Even if you read it decades after it was written in 1928, this award winner will instantly be remembered, and you will be sure it was written about Israel.
Those of you who have visited Israel on a tour bus may not have been aware of this common sight, but, if you are walking, the multitude of wild cats are inescapable. It was also interesting to see how many birds co-existed with this natural enemy. I am told there is an absence of mice, but all Israeli cats prefer the birds over the rodents.
These small animals wander freely in all communities. I saw them everywhere I went. They are wild, but are also fed by many residents who leave bags of bread and dishes of food and water sitting out by trash cans. The cats have myriad colors and are thin but quite attractive. They usually run away when approached.
You can often see them in cool spots around town. They especially like to sit in the shade under parked cars, and who can blame them?
Because my 11-year-old granddaughter loves cats, I took a dozen photos to send her, including this one of a group eating their dinner, across the street from my sister’s house at about 8 p.m.
Before I stepped from the cab, there were about a dozen, but as I exited and took out my phone to take a photo, they scattered. These must have been the hungriest since they remained, but you can see by the light in their eyes they took a good hard look at me before resuming their meal.
If you’re a dog lover, don’t worry, there are plenty of canines. But unlike the hounds who mostly have owners, the cats are unclaimed and very quiet. No matter where you are, you can hear the dogs barking and howling at all hours of the day and night. As a walker, I was frequently startled by a dog jumping up on his fence to snarl at me as I innocently passed by.
Not only are the cats quiet, I was happy to see that they do not leave a mess on the sidewalk for you to step in.