On July 20, the Embassy of the United States in Havana was reopened as the U.S. and Cuba restored diplomatic relations. Less than a month later, John Kerry became the first secretary of state to visit Cuba in 70 years. I know all of this geopolitical news mainly because my girlfriend traveled there to cover the events for work. I stayed home and enjoyed pizza and beer parties with the cat.
In between stocking up on my cheese and hops, I also pestered my girlfriend to take pictures of some kitties from Cuba. She obliged. This is what I discovered about feral cats living behind the Cuban curtain.
The first thing I learned about cats in Cuba is that they keep to a regimented schedule. Because of the heat and humidity, they spend much of the day seeking sanctuary in the shade. In this picture snapped in Old Havana, this clowder of kitties are led by a fearless black cat and have just started to venture out as the nightlife swings into play.
When tipsy tourists leave restaurants, the smart cats have realized that it’s a prime time to beg for some leftovers.
See this talkative calico? As befits such a colorful cat, he hangs out in the arts district of Old Havana. Here he’s guarding a portón (an old door from the Spanish colonial era). It’s a role he takes to with the genial panache of an expert doorman. With the number of local artist studios in the area, he could also snag some healthy commissions as a salescat.
This snappily dressed tabby is cavorting among some plants next to the Cathedral of Santo Domingo and La Lonja De Comercio, where international news outlets have their offices. Across the street you’ll find Che Guevara’s old abode.
Granma is the name of the Communist Party newspaper, and the outlet’s offices are situated in the military area. These days, it appears the building is guarded by two plucky ferals who became known as Che and Comandante.
The inside of the Granma building is a throwback to the Soviet era, complete with East German printing presses, vintage elevators, and archives of discourses.
That said, one of the Granma kitties seemed more interested in tending to his grooming than to any of the historical documents inside. Cats!
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About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world’s foremost expert on rappers’ cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it’s not quite what you think it is.