Regina Cano

HAVANA TIMES — Walking through the historic part of the city always stimulates taking a good look around you, because if you don’t stay abreast of its changes it will seem at some point that you’re no longer in it.

The environment of this place has continued to change for a long time. First it was changed by collapsing buildings, and perhaps since at least this past decade it has been changed by massive renovation, restoration and maintenance of the physical environment and businesses in a neighborhood known as being the oldest one in the city of Havana.

Well people!, in one of my explorations that made for an eventful visit to Old Havana, I ran into a collection of cats that were taking advantage of the restoration of the Palace of the Captains General to breed and survive. But what made me notice and discover them was their being cared for by a woman with several plastic bags and plastic plates.

From what this lady said, some 23 animals (between them cats and kittens) were hiding on the side of the Palace under a container that serves as the construction office. Every day they would wait there for the generosity of this woman.

The woman, apparently in her sixties, says that people who pass by either abuse the little creatures or proceed on past with indifference.

She therefore devotes two times a day to coming and bringing them something to eat.

She can’t bear seeing the helplessness in which they live, surviving thanks only to their being able to hide under the container. She doesn’t live nearby, but she does work in the neighborhood, so she avails herself of the proximity by providing food as best she can through her own resources.

She obviously loves the animals and her sensitivity towards them makes her dedicate herself in this way especially to the kittens, which are suffering, suffering but growing up healthy – which is the reason for her joy.

As for me, I’m unable to do much for them since I already have enough cats in my care. Still, I’m gratified to know that there are city residents here who — though unable to provide an overall solution to the matter — do what they can for stray animals.

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Regina Cano

Regina Cano: I have lived my entire life in Havana, Cuba – the island from which I’ve still never left, and which I love. I was born on September 9, and my parents chose my name out of superstition, but my mother raised me outside the religion professed by her family. I studied accounting and finance at the University of Havana, a profession that I’m not engaged in for the time being, and that I substituted for doing crafts, some ceramics, and studying a little English and about painting. Ah! – concerning my picture: I identify with Rastafarian principles, but I am not one of them. I wear this cap from time to time, but I assure you I just didn't have a better picture.

6 thoughts on “Cats in Old Havana

  • The woman’s name is Marta. She is a book seller in Plaza de Armas.

    In October the Spanky Project and Animal Balance conducted Cuba’s first mass Trap – Neuter – Return of cats.

    Marta’s colony was one of the colonies included in the program.

    During the one week campaña over 300 cats were sterilized.

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