New & now
Is Malta really the island of cats? We have proof!
Every visitor will notice the presence of several felines around the Maltese Islands. What about the cats of Malta and why is it becoming known as the island of cats?

Melanie Drury

image

There are many cats in Malta. In the homes, in the streets, in the parks, by the water’s edge, fat cats live happily. In fact, Malta could well be the best place in the world to be a stray.

Locals are so accustomed to their presence that cats have come to play an integral role in the cultural landscape. It’s ordinary to shoo a snoozing cat off the roof off your car and to see cats gathering at the time the cat lady is due to appear with food. Most people tolerate them happily; others leave food and water on their doorstep; and some take it upon themselves to feed a colony for years.

Man with Cat

The cats of Malta live happy lives with full bellies and not a care in the world. They pass their days snoozing in the sun and collecting titbits. They’ve even made it to the hall of fame, with calendars and mugs dedicated to the cats of Malta. So on an island dubbed ‘Island of Cats', let’s take a look at the cats you're likely to meet and their carers.

Malta's 'cat ladies'

Sliema, Malta

Forget the middle-aged spinster, stray cat carers in Malta come of all ages and from all walks of life. These members of the local community invest personal time and private funds to care for and manage the Maltese population of felines. There’s even a book about the cat carers of Malta by Alexander Johnson and Gabriele Ruttloff-Bauer. An estimated 1,000 carers are naturally inspired towards a common cause: caring for approximately 3,000 stray and feral cats on the islands.

Fun fact: Did you know that a "Maltese cat" is any cat whose fur is either completely, or primarily, grey or blue and of an indeterminate breed?

Different types of cats of Malta

Meet the protagonists that earn Malta the nickname ‘Island of Cats’:

The window cat

Sticks to safety and cosy comfort.

Images of Malta

The door cat

In or out? Who’s to decide.

Malta

The car cat

Mmmm it’s warm, it’s safe, it’s Zzzzz...

Day 2 Valetta (196)

The bench cat

Understands true comfort.

Cats of San Antons Garden - 1

The community cat

Sharing is caring.

Cats at Wied iz-Zurrieq

The boat cat

Boats are just big boxes.

Setting sail

The fisherman’s cat

Need I say more?

Fishermen and friends; St. Julian's Bay, Malta

The satisfied fisherman’s cat

Finally! 

On action

The cafe cat

Sees no point in risks as long as the belly fills... and fills his time with snoozing.

Cats of Malta

The aristo-cat

The one that has it all and gives you a look that says, 'What are YOU doing here? Did anyone invite you?'

Cats of Malta

Cat Village

Cats are so well established on the islands that they have their very own cat village in one of the prime areas of St Julians. The Cat Village has become a Maltese icon loved and protected by the community and visitors alike.

thrivers on islands #101 (Cat Village, St. Julians, Malta)

Cat care: Organisations set up in Malta to look after stray cats include PAWS Malta, Stray Animal Support Group (SASG)Animal Care Malta and Tomasina Cat Sanctuary. Local clinics and private vets contribute towards neutering strays.

And now for the famous cats of Malta...

The artsy cat, Sliema

God of Cat at Sliema, Malta, May 2017

The cat with the fisherman, Spinola

dont feed the cat

Another fisherman's cat, Marsaxlokk

Coming home from the sea

The cat fed by the boy on the stairs, Mellieha

Street Painting

Perhaps the nickname 'Island of Cats' does suit Malta after all.

21st July 2018


Melanie Drury
Written by
Melanie Drury
Melanie was born and raised in Malta and has spent a large chunk of her life travelling solo around the world. Back on the island with a new outlook, she realised just how much wealth her little island home possesses.

You may also like...
New & now

Jillian Mallia
New & now
New & now
The term ‘drag queen’ is pretty well known (thank you Ru Paul’s drag race!) but how about ‘drag king’? Well, it’s about to get a whole lot more popular as Malta welcomes award-winning show Joan!

Jo Caruana
New & now
New & now
We meet the man behind the Arizona business, Malta Joe's.

Vanessa Conneely