Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Parliament Hill Cats


The most famous feral cats in Canada live on Parliament Hill in our capital city of Ottawa, Ontario. At one time, cats were employed in the Parliament Buildings to keep down rodents but they were replaced in the mid-1950s by chemicals. Apparently the cats then went feral. Today a colony of descendants is still located on The Hill, fed and cared for by dedicated volunteers. The cats are also spayed and neutered. People are actively discouraged from dropping off new kitties.

When My Rare One and I were in Ottawa a couple of years ago, I was determined to see the cats' famous sanctuary hidden among the bushes and trees. But I wasn't sure where it was located. Just when I was about to give up my search, I saw a cat wandering down the public pathway and disappearing behind an ironwork fence. Bingo!


Volunteers have built tidy little cat condos with decks and balconies for the cats' comfort and protection during winter. Dry food and fresh water are left out for them (and also for thieving raccoons and squirrels).


The cats' story is printed on a bilingual French and English sign. A securely locked strongbox solicits donations too. The cats may live on Parliament Hill but they are not supported by the taxpayers of Canada.


I slipped the cats a twenty -- wouldn't you? Of course you would!

[The first photo is from the internet. All others are by Debra She Who Seeks. And just how the hell did I manage not to get any cats in the photos? They are elusive kitties indeed.]

34 comments:

Lois said...

Oh that is priceless. My intention on the March Break is to take my 2 teens to Ottawa to see the parliment buildings, as they haven't ever, and now we have a side trip! They will be more excited about the cats.

DEZMOND said...

we love thieving raccoons :)

jadedj said...

The raccoon comment reminded me of when I lived in Miami. We had a small side porch which was screened in. That's where we put our cat's food when we first moved in. In the middle of the second night there, I heard a loud noise from that side of the house. I turned on the porch light, and there were three raccoons eating the cat's food. They had ripped out part of the screening to get in. Thieves, indeed! Rascals.

Robin Larkspur said...

And do the cats speak french or english?

CorvusCorax12 said...

yes i would :)

Jeanne said...

I've read of these Cats. And the taxpayers who support them! :0)
The Kitty Condos are very cool!

mxtodis123 said...

Oh, I love those cat condos. What a great idea!
Maary

laurie said...

I would too, I'm proud that we have this,

jaz@octoberfarm said...

how cool is that? i want to live in a kitty condo!

Hippy Jersey Devil said...

That is so amazingly amazing. That kind of care for animals says so much about those volunteers. If only everyone were so kind.

Suzanne said...

I love it!

Linda in New Mexico said...

The kitty condos are great. We have a feral cat problem/opportunity at an old hotel not far from our house. Every week we take our donation of kitty food to the lady who organizes the volunteer staff and activities. We bought 2 catch cages for the group as a holiday gift from our family, that way they can catch, take to have neuter and release the kitties. Oma Linda

knitwit said...

I saw that first line and thought you were talking about Harper and his cronies...
I like these cats a lot better. I'd slip them a twenty as well!

crowbloke said...

wow, these kitties have a nice life by the look of things.

Jane said...

Cute kitty condos! This is such a great idea, and yes I would have as well :)

Sulky Kitten said...

I love this kind of story! Lucky kitties, eh? Those little condos look very nice indeed. I also cannot pass by any animal charity without donating something.

Plowing Through Life said...

I love those cat condos! I had no idea about this; it's very interesting. Of course I'd slip the cats a twenty.

Wendy S. said...

I love that people are taking care of the kitties even though some corporational decision opted them out for horrible chemicals. And you're "slipping" them some money is definitely the cat's meow ; )

Victoria said...

Yay..how fab..i love the cat condos!!very cool!
V~

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I love these cat community stories.

Southpaw said...

Awww,so cute. So, 10 was for the cats, 6 for the raccoons, and 4 for the squirrels? ;P

Bersercules said...

This reminds me of a hospital neer where I live, it has a huge rabbit population and people will so often drop of there rabbits there that they had to put signs up to get people to not add to the problem!

Jim said...

Pretty nice 'digs' if you ask me....and secure ones too! Kitty power on The Hill!

Francie said...

I didn't know that, Debra. That is a wonderful story of past and present. Ottawa is on my list of places to revisit and you can be sure I will check out the cats and leave a donation!

Em said...

In my next life, I'm coming back as Canadian. You guys are just cooler than we are.

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

That's some mighty swanky accommodation - lovely! Lucky moggies. And yes, $20 from me too.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

West is sort of like that..if you drive down the alleys behind all the stores you will see piles of dry cat food for them..and we have our own cat lady..who feeds them plus babs does too..ok..so do i...

Blueberry said...

What a wonderful place!

Rue said...

Nice condos! And you are so sweet to help feed the cats. That's something I actually wouldn't mind being taxed for!

Rue said...

Nice condos! And you are so sweet to help feed the cats. That's something I actually wouldn't mind being taxed for!

SUZY8-TRACK said...

I love seeing how folks care about animals! If I were there, I would have slipped in a twenty too!

Birdie said...

I saw the cats on Parliament Hill a couple years ago and read that the man that was doing the main caring for the cats was getting too old for the job. I hope they found some good replacements. I am a crazy cat lady and would love to be able to do the job. :-)

Tricky Nag said...

Never heard of these cats. Next time I'm there I'm going to keep my eyes open for them and hunt down their home.

laughingwolf said...

talk about citizen-supported cat houses! :P

but then, that's all parliament is these days, too!