Caturday felids: Reader’s report of a cat hotel in Malta

My friend Sarah Lawson, whom I met while visiting Malgorzata and Andrzej (she is a very old friend of theirs) is both an inveterate traveler and a lover of felids. That’s a felicitious combination, and makes for this week’s Caturday Felid, as Sarah encountered a “cat hotel” on a recent visit to Malta. When I heard indirectly that she stumbled upon this refuge for stray moggies, I of course demanded a report. It’s below, along with Sarah’s captions.

When I was I Malta recently I thought of you when I saw this hostel for homeless cats! I gathered from Malgorzata that I was more or less commissioned to report on it, so I am aware that I owe you some pictures. This is part of the “cat hostel”, which consisted of a lot of stuffed toys and boxes for sleeping in. The cat in the foreground prefers a parked car. Not far away at the side of the little harbor is this rather charming sculptural group–a fisherman repairing his net while a cat looks on.

Spinola Street in St Julians, Malta

Sculpture beside St. Julians Bay

A few of the patrons of the cat hotel:

A few of the patrons of the
One wing of the cat hotel:

One wing of the cat hotel

Hanging out at the cat hotel:

Hanging out at the cat hote

St Julians is the place where, on my last visit to Malta in 1999, I learned that I could make myself understood in Cat! I was eating some very nice grilled fish on the terrace of the San Giuliano restaurant just beside the harbor when 5 or 6 cats grouped themselves around my table in the hopes of rescuing some scraps from my plate. They got closer and closer and one cat put its paw up on the table near my plate. I thought: Now this has gone far enough! So I leant over toward that cat and very distinctly enunciated “Haaaaaa!” If I could have laid back my ears, I would have done that too, but human ears probably already look laid back all the time to cats. Well, this cat understood my hiss instantly and retreated at once AND evidently passed on the message to the other cats because they all kept a respectful distance after that. How about that for inter-species communication? I was absurdly pleased with myself.

Ho! Little green skittery thing, where do you think you’re going?
Ho, little green skittery-t
Everyone gets in on the act!


  1. Posted April 19, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I bet that little green skittery thing was quite tasty….


    • Sarah
      Posted April 20, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Actually, the white cat didn’t seem interested in eating it–just putting a paw on top of it. Later the skittery thing ran off. I think it was a sort of gecko type creature.

      • Posted April 20, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Hmmm…might have just eaten. Baihu, even immediately after eating his own dinner, would have introduced the gecko to his digestive system in under 2.7 seconds…you’d think lizards (and grasshoppers and…) were crack cocaine to him — and I even feed him the super-ultra good stuff, the thawed raw venison and the like.


  2. Barbara
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Congratulations to Sarah on successfully speaking Cat. Reminds me of my father speaking Cow better than he expected when he (a town person) visited me on my husband’s family farm.

    One of my chores was to feed the recently weaned (8 month old) beef calves. They were a bit skittish about Dad but more interested in grain. As they crowded around the feed bunk and I went to get the next bucket of grain, Dad leaned down and called, “Moo!-ooo!-ooo!-ooo!” Heads flew up, ears through up, and split second later the calves whirled as one and stampeded. Fortunately, the newly rebuilt fence on the other side of the pen held.

    Dad had accidentally given a cow alarm call.

  3. Grania Spingies
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    What a lovely idea. Every one of those cats looks well fed too.

  4. Sastra
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I’m astonished at the apparent lack of cat fights. Perhaps the new territory puts them off somehow.

    I’m also guessing that there are “private suites” for those kitties who seem to “prefer to relax in peaceful solitude.”

    • Sarah
      Posted April 20, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      I didn’t see any cat fights or signs of hostility. They seemed to be one big happy family.

      • Posted April 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        …and yet I still encounter people who still claim that cats aren’t social animals, despite innumerable examples to the contrary such as the one you’re reporting on….


  5. Kiwi Dave
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Welcome to the Hotel Catifornia
    Such a lovely place…

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