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Photo Feature by Elio Delgado Valdes   (Text: Irina Echarry)

HAVANA TIMES — There are many myths that accompany the smallest of felines; one of the more certain ones deals with their great ability to steal food. It is common in Cuba to hear expressions that denigrate these animals: treacherous, unfriendly, unloving to humans. But it is more common to find them in the street, surviving – or living – despite our misgivings about them.

0024At the end of May the Kid Chocolate gymnasium hosted the spring 2014 Feline Expo, where pets compete according to regulations in the Cuban Association of Cat Lovers, which have taken place in Cuba for more than twenty years. On this occasion, some varieties of Cuban Shorthair cats were present; the furry tabby Persians; and examples of two Asian breeds: Siamese Thai and the Balinese Thai.

Of course, when it comes to associations and skills you think awards, titles and rules to follow in terms of weight, fur, ears etc. Established beauty standards that exclude those stray cats that abound, whether on garbage cans in the gardens, garages or vacant lots; sleeping, frolicking, hunting; some calm, others more stressed; more or less colorful, but all with equal elegance.

These events promote the advantage of having pets, foster a culture of love for cats, as well as set standards of beauty and purity of certain races. But perhaps for some of the audience believes that the world of cats that should be protected and conserved reduces to those beautifully manicured pussycats.

Luckily, there are many people that continue to put out a plate of food in some garden when they can’t take the kittens home.

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3 thoughts on “Cats and Competitions in Cuba

  • Yes, visiting the reality of Cuba where the cats cannot even live a dogs life and for most Cuban dogs that is a miserable affair brings you in touch with reality. There are those who prefer to shut their eyes on such misery rather than running a campaign to persuade the government of Cuba to introduce a licensing scheme with penalties for those not holding a licence.
    However such is the character of the so-called animal lover lobbies of Europe in particular that they would rather attack the millenia old way of life of the Inuit people of Canada and close the seal hunt than address the problems in Cuba or the deliberate barbaric cruelty practised by the Spanish by raising bulls for torture to death for public entertainment – no different from Nero’s Coliseum in Rome.
    Not visiting Cuba or not admitting that such cruelty is deliberately practised in Spain does nothing to help the animals.

  • Ashamed to even having visited Cuba.

  • We have been to Cuba many times and have travelled by bicycle to every city, town or village . When we first visited , there were no cats anywhere , in the last few years they are evertywhere . and every Garbage box at every corner is residence for several of all sizes .
    I once asked a fellow in Bayamo if he liked cats , he said sure , they taste like chicken.
    Another time we were in Pilon , near Cayo Coco . Carlos asked me if I liked cats .I love cats and have had many . He said he did too and that we shouild share recipes
    I suspect that as a country becomes more affluent the more you see people owning dogs and cats .Ive always said that you can quickly tell how well off a country is by the condition of their dogs and cats in the streets .
    Sadly , Cuba has a long way to go

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