Feral Cats Of Playa Blanca, Lanzarote
Playa Blanca, Lanzarote
My favourite place in the world is Playa Blanca, Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Lanzarote is a beautiful volcanic island with dramatic and stunning views. Its an island predominately made up of barren fields of lava and volcano's with beautiful white beaches and turquoise sea.
Situated about seventy miles northwest of Africa, in the Atlantic Ocean, Lanzarote is the fourth largest island of seven islands that include Tenerife, Grand Canaria, Fuerteventura, El Hierro, La Gomera, La Palma. There is a clear view of Fuerteventura from Playa Blanca and the island can be reached by ferry that leave every hour or so from Playa Blanca port. The journey takes about thirty five minutes.
Lanzarote has it all, beautiful white beaches, pristine waters, stunning scenery and all year round sunshine and warmth. It is a place that lifts me mentally and spiritually and I love being there.
Freddy's Cat House
On my walks around the island I noticed the many feral cats were all well cared for. I found out that Freddy, the cat man of Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, is responsible for the healthy cats. Freddy is a German man who came to the island in 1994 for a holiday. Whilst on the island he noticed the plight of the feral cats on the island and decided to do something about it. He started taking care of the cats. Taking cats home and making sure that he fed and cared for as many cats as he could. When his own money ran out he depended on donations to be able to continue to care for the cats. It has been hard going for Freddy getting rights and protection for the island cats as not everyone on the island is a cat lover. He persevered and now is a non profit charity, ‘FreddysCatHouse’. He also has official authority to feed and take care of the cats.
Freddy makes sure all the cats are neutered and treated by the veterinarian for fleas, worms and other illnesses or injury. Often Freddy has to sit in the blazing sun for hours trying to catch cats or kittens in need of medical attention or neutering. He can also be seen walking in the early evening, carrying his rucksack of food and big bottles of water as he feeds the cats along the sea front and beyond.
Freddy can be feeding over a 200 cat’s a day and so has developed feeding stations along the coast. Most of the stations are now more visible as ‘Feeding Houses’ which were donated by a German cat friend who makes them himself from scraps of material. They are perfect for protecting the cat food from the wind and rain.
Freddy will arrange a cat walk in the early evenings for anyone wanting to see more of the cats whilst visiting the island. He knows the cats by name and cares deeply for every one of them. On the walks he introduces cats by name and tells stories about the cats. It is a lovely experience getting to know the cats and all their different personalities. My favourite cat and I know the favourite of many others is Piojita. She always comes out for a stroke and will walk with me for a while. It is always lovely to see her whenever I go back to Lanzarote especially as she is so well taken care of.
I recommend a cat walk if you are a cat lover on the island and find your favourite ‘gato’, which is Spanish for cat. Freddy prefers to arrange cat walks for early evenings as it is too hot in Lanzarote for the cats to venture out during the day. All day the cats hide from the heat of the sun and then in the early evenings, when Freddy appears, the cats appear.
Freddy also arranges adoptions of the island cats and helps with vaccinations and flight paper work for anyone interested in adopting a cat from Playa Blanca. Many cats have now found their forever homes all over the world thanks to Freddy and his cat friends.
Without Freddy these beautiful cats would be full of disease and starving. I am grateful to Freddy and his team of cat lovers for all their hard work and for bringing pleasure into my life. Whenever I go to Lanzarote, I meet cat lovers from all over the world. They are fascinated by the cats and treat them like old friends. It is nice to see that the cats bring pleasure to others. It is nice to see people smile and the Lanzarote cats make people smile.
Time and time again cat friends return to the island and volunteer some of their time to feed the cats and this is a great help to Freddy because it means he can concentrate on other jobs that need doing. With new kittens on the island Freddy has his work cut out. He has to sit, often for hours in the blazing sun in order to catch kittens or cats in need of neutering or veterinary care.
I have got to know Freddy the cat man as I have visited Lanzarote and can say he is an intelligent man with a passion for the cats and he truly cares. I know he gave up his life in Germany to care for these cats and for that I know I am grateful. It has been my pleasure to have met him and become a friend.
Freddy, Cat Man of Lanzarote
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