The Cat attraction at the La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.
The La Recoleta Cemetery is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Buenos Aires. Tourists come here to learn more about the history of Argentina and to view the tombs. It is an unusual cemetery. This post is not about the cemetery but about a tourist attraction in itself – The cats. They are often called the Graveyard cats.
I have been to La Recoleta Cemetery many times over the past 9 years and the one thing that people always comment on, is the number of cats that wander the cemetery. They like to relax in the sunshine and will often come up to you for a pat. All of them are healthy and in a good physical condition.
The mystery cat woman and benefactor.
W hat many people do not know is that the cats have an anonymous woman who takes care of them all. She takes care of all of their needs. They get neutered, taken to the vet and fed healthy cat food.
People have been trying to get interviews with her but she hardly ever accepts. She wishes to remain and stay anonymous. In the early morning or late in the afternoon, women with bags can be seen feeding the cats. They call them by name. That is incredible because there are many cats.
A rat free cemetery.
The mystery woman has been taking care of the cats for more than 22 years. During this time the cats have kept the rat community under control. The Recoleta cemetery is believed to be rat-free. That comes as no surprise because there are more than 40 cats currently living in the cemetery.
The grounds of the cemetery is not the ideal place for the cats. Although they roam free and have a place to sleep, they are not in a loving home. Many of the tombs are not taken care off and they often sleep on rubble or on top of coffins. It sounds awful but you have to see the cemetery to understand what I say. If you were hoping to rescue one of the cats and take him home, it is not possible. Police will stop you.
A love for cats.
On a rare occasion when she agreed to do a short interview, she was asked why she does it? The answer was simple: “Because I love cats”.
This is clearly evident if you listen to the food that the cats eat. Food is prepared in her home. It consists of liver or heart mixed with rice. Once per month the cats are inoculated with an anti-flea injection. The vet will also check if they are in need of extra medical attention.
All of this comes out of her own pocket but she does take donations when people offer.
An interesting story.
In 2007 a couple visited La Recoleta cemetery and they couldn’t get over the number of stray cats. When a friend visited the cemetery 7 years later, they asked him to please take photos. They were concerned about the cats.
After spotting a cat on the photos that they saw 7 years earlier, they decided to go back. They wanted to know who took care of them. That is how they met the mystery woman. Her husband died more than 20 years ago and was buried there. She fell in love with the cats. She has no children of her own and sold her valuables to take care of them.
The Guardians of La Recoleta Documentary.
Concerned about the welfare of the cats and what will happen when their benefactor cannot take care of them anymore, they made a documentary. Soon afterwards the Kickstarter campaign was born to help fund the Guardians of La Recoleta.
The documentary can be seen on Youtube.