Our Cat in Havana

What is it like in Cuba for the cat? Well, Will Grant can tell us. He works for the BBC and he has lived in Havana where he adopted a stray cat.

The first point, which is bad for cats is that Cubans are generally dog people. This is unsurprising to me because in less afluent countries dogs are considered to be useful. I suppose cats are seen as less useful. Cats get a relatively bad deal in their relationship with people but of course there are still many people who help cats.

Havana cats
Havana cats

As expected there are lots (armies?) of stray dogs and cats on the streets. Cat and dog rescue is carried out by the public and local businesses voluntarily because the Cuban government has no interest in funding cat and dog rescue.

However, around twelve state run insitutions including the Museum of Metalwork and the Central Bank have adopted stray dogs as a sort of guard dog. They are given a identification tag to prevent the dog-catchers taking them away.

Also, the governing council of Havana operates a spaying and neutering program in Old Havana. The public are unable to deal with all the other strays which is why there are so many on the streets.

Will Grant adopted a slender orange and white tabby who he called Django. Django would live inside the engine compartment of a diplomat’s SUV. Other residents of the building where Will lived played their part in looking after Django.

Dry cat food is available in Cuba. It is made in Mexico and it is expensive. In feeding Django other stray cats gathered.

Will mentions that some Cubans have the habit of getting rid of stray cats and dogs by lacing mince with rat poison. Annoying dogs are sometimes removed from Havana by driving them to the countryside. That’s cruel too.

Django was killed by a car being driven down 70th Street. The beginning, middle and end of his short life sums up the life of a relatively lucky cat in Havana.

I believe you write very similar articles and stories about cats in the majority of other counties excluding the West.

People living in Europe and North America might not realise that the life of domestic cats on the planet is generally tough.

Source: Our cat in Havana – BBC News

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