This article is part of our Trip Report – Our Summer Holiday in Dubrovnik and Beyond
When we left off with our Trip Report – Our Summer Holiday in Dubrovnik and Beyond, before Middle Age Miles took a few days off to travel to Italy, we’d just finished the story of our unique journey to the “Cheese Shop” high in the hills above Kotor, Montenegro.
After our visit to the Cheese Shop and the neighboring Fortress of Kotor, we descended the mountain to visit Old Town Kotor. There, we found that we encountered many, many cats. It turns out that the cats of Kotor are somewhat famous. If you do a little Internet searching, you’ll find a number of articles on the cats of Kotor. And there’s even a Cats Museum!
Middle Age Miles loves our cats, so we took quite a few pictures of the cats of Kotor, and we paid the whopping 1 Euro entry fee to visit the Cats Museum. Thus, following in the intrepid footsteps of the inimitable Loyalty Traveler, Ric Garrido and his pathbreaking and epic work, “Cats of Plovdiv” (Plovdiv is a Bulgarian city that also has lots of cats), we present … Cats of Kotor.
History of the Cats of Kotor
According to this article from Culture Trip, Kotor’s fascination with cats dates back about 100 years. As the story goes, in 1918 Slav sailors revolting form the Austro-Hungarian navy brought their ships into the Bay of Kotor, and with them, their cats. The ships brought cats from all over the world, making the cats of Kotor as diverse as they are numerous. Further, the legend continues, the location of Kotor tightly wedged between the sea and mountains meant that there were lots of mice, rats and snakes. The cats protected the town from these creatures and thus helped save the town, becoming legendary symbols of good luck in the process.
Today, there are still many cats roaming about Kotor, and they seem to be treated well. Most of the cats we saw were in good shape. Many shopowners leave cat food and water out for the kitties. Not surprisingly, there seem to be issues with population control, but an animal-loving crew named Kotor Kitties is hard at work with a spay-and-neuter program to help contain the cat population.
Pictures of the Cats!
It’s a little tough to get cats to pose – but here’s our photo gallery of the Cats of Kotor:
Visiting the Cats Museum in Kotor
When we saw the Cats Museum on the map of Kotor, we knew we had to make at least a quick visit. The price was right, 1 Euro per person admission. It’s kind of tucked down a small road that’s not in the flow of traffic, but let Google Maps be your guide as the Cats Museum is clearly and correctly marked there.
As you might expect, the Cats Museum isn’t terribly large. It has a front entry room where you purchase your admission ticket and you can also buy some cat souvenirs, then down a hallway there are a couple of rooms that are chock-full of cat books, photos, postcards, and other cat-related items.
The Cats Museum is cool and quirky enough that it’s been featured in Atlas Obscura. Honestly, there’s nothing earth-shattering there, but we still got a kick out of going, and we certainly got our 1 Euro’s worth from our ticket price.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from the Cats Museum:
The Rest of Old Town Kotor
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to spend exploring the rest of Old Town Kotor. We were able to find the main Old Town Square and make a quick visit to the Saint Nicholas Church:
Across Old Town Square is another church. I believe that this is Saint Luke’s Church, which dates back to 1195, miraculously still standing through the earthquakes and wars of the past 8-plus centuries:
We got to pay a quick visit to one of Philly’s favorite European stores, Michal Negrin:
And we peeked around one corner of Old Town Kotor to find this interesting giant lamp statue. We have no idea why it’s there or what it’s supposed to mean.
We certainly would have enjoyed spending more time in Kotor. But we’d had a full day of mountain hiking, cheese eating, rakia drinking, fortress exploring, and cat photographing. Unfortunately, we needed to get back in the car and return to Dubrovnik. Hopefully we’ll get to return to Kotor and the country of Montenegro again some day. As we mentioned in our last article, we would have loved to spend a bit of time in Perast and visit the Our Lady of the Rocks chapel, to continue up to see the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic-Njegos on Lovcen mountain, and to continue driving further along the Bay to see the superyachts docked at Porto.
But for this trip, we were happy to meet the Cats of Kotor, and we’re glad we could share them with you.
Have you been to Kotor or other places in Montenegro? To the Cat Museum? What did you think about all the cats? Please share your stories with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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