One of the most alarming situations one can encounter, in Israel, involves run-ins with a little known indigenous population. You see them patrolling the market places, scurrying through school yards, running after buses, and in laundry-room sinks. Of course, this is what it is like encountering a member of the population of feral cats. These felines are the squirrels of Israel. Cats are everywhere in this country; an old cat lady’s dream world!
There are feeding stations in parks where cats can go for food and water. They lounge under benches and lurk in the bushes. You can also see them playing around and frolicking in general. Of course, human interaction is inevitable. These cats are no strangers to strange people. They pounce at the opportunity to beg for food from humans. They dart out in front of you while you are walking across a busy street. Feral cats are a daily occurrence in the land of milk and honey and cats...
Tour guides will tell you not to pet the animals. After all, they are wild. As they say in America: “don’t feed the squirrels.” I am much more inclined to feed a dog than a cat. Yet I have found myself confronted by a very loud, meowing cat that demanded I give it a french fry, in exchange for safe passage out from a food vendors shop. But that was fairly tame. I have almost been scratched by a few that I didn’t notice were under a bench.
The most alarming occurrence for me was one cat that jumped up next to me while I was at an laundry facility, and the door is always open, so all the cats run in there to be in a warm place at night. Well, this cat jumped on the couch and started meowing, then I looked at it, and it put its head on my arm. I should have stopped there, but I petted it. And at that point the cat crawled onto arm and then stretched out so it could put its paws on my chest. Finally it decided to take a cat nap on my lap…and I took a pic before it fell asleep.