Dromedaris Street, Melkbosstrand, Cape Town, South Africa

Casa de Gatos

Cape Towns Luxury Cat Hotel

I visited a house today that brought tears of joy to my eyes. I can not disclose where this place was, but it is a haven for rescued cats on one side and a  luxury cat hotel on the other.. 

I have known about this place through small-time conversations  with certain people, but this was my first time I got an invite to visit.

This house is not quite a half-way house, ne’er a dormitory nor a cattery or kennel or shelter; it is a place I would leave MY house each day, and visit the morning and afternoon away with the twenty-two members of a family, run by a woman who is  their mother, nurse, educator, psychologist, chef, hygiene officer, maid, companion, care-giver, love-giver……..

YES. There are 22 cats currently in this impressive casa de gatos, and – before you GASP and reach for the anti-histamines, I have never seen a place so clean and unsoiled, and when you enter this place, you feel space and serenity and warmth, yet hardly see a cat.

Truth is, every one of the inhabitants of this space blend in, unify, coalesce, meld, into a temple (yes) of sanctuary and security and sympathy.

These 22 kids are all beautiful, the big ones and the small ones. They all come with a story. Some stories are bizarre, some heart-breaking, some confusing, some horrible, some wonderful… yet every one of them is in good health, extremely well-fed, clean as buttons, and snug in a corner, in a bed, on a roof, under a table, catching a sun outside a window, or taking a leisurely stroll 

There is order here. Not disciplinary order, but an organic, tolerant, respectful, familial order… forbearance, provision, prudence, LOVE.

I spent a couple of hours there (the last hour with Milli on my lap – a sad story with a wonderful twist) and met about twenty of the orphans; spoke to about two-thirds of them. Their stories are far more heartbreaking than many stories/plights of humans, and I WILL TELL THEM.

I was too overawed and overwhelmed today to even take one picture. Out of respect to all my feline friends, I  thought better of it, and forgot I had a cell phone, for two hours. . .

Written by Tony Ridgway – published poet and author , illustrator, songwriter/musician, freelance journo and cat dad !