“There’s very good evidence that the average cat in Europe has a larger environmental footprint in its lifetime than the average African.”
Jason W. Clay, World Wildlife Fund
On almost every European street there is a cat mooching around doing some very important cat business. Almost every European window is adorned with a cozy kitty soaking up the sun napping off all that hard work. They are just purrfect! Chunky, fuzzy, skinny, tall, short, with a tail or no tail – the cat is the pet of choice and holds a special place in the heart of Europeans. They are true furnomenons so to say. But are we sure about the sound they make? Is it ‘Miao’? ‘Miaow’? Could it be ‘Miaou’? or maybe ‘Miyaou’? We already listened to how cocks crow and how dogs bark all over Europe, let’s now discover how cats miaow!
“I threw the stick at the cat-cat, But the cat-cat, Has not died-ed-ed!” We already told you what Portuguese people do to their cats in their nursery rhymes… Well, expect their feline friends to answer with an evocative Miau! in response…
Ever heard of Félicette? She was the first cat launched into space in 1963 as part of the French space program. Most of the data from her mission was of good quality enough for French engineers to pursue their research. Oh yeah, because, happy ending: Félicette survived the flight! Miau!
United Kingdom – Ireland
Miaow! – Miau!
As even the most casual royal watchers know, pets are a big part of the royal family’s life. But only Princess Michael of Kent, the wife of Queen Elizabeth II’s first cousin has a cat… With all the dogs in the royal family, are cats getting left out?
Mjao! – Mjau! – Mjao! – Jam!
There is only one breed of cat that hails from Sweden and that’s the European Shorthair. This cat originally was from Rome but made its way around Europe, and the Swedes continued to breed the cat similar to what they were in Roman times.
Mjau! – Mjav! – Miau! – Miav!
Danes have their own kind of piñata. It’s called slå katten af tønden (“hit the cat out of the barrel”). They use a wooden barrel, which is full of candy and has the image of a cat on it. The one who knocks down the bottom of the barrel becomes kattedronning (“queen of cats”)…
Miauw! – Mauw!
A serious newspaper once asked the question: Are there more cats than people in The Netherlands? After all, the Dutch are the ones who invented the Kattencafe – a place to enjoy your coffee surrounded by cats – and the canal boat – a boat turned into a cat shelter…
Germany – Austria – Switzerland
Czechia – Slovakia
“A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in time of need.” This is the article 13 of the self-declared constitution of the Republic of Užupis – a neighbourhood in Vilnius who also found itself a flag, an unofficial currency, a president and an army of 11 men. Crazy…
Mjau! – Nau!
There is in Riga a building called the Cat House. It is known for the two cat sculptures on its roof, with arched backs and raised tails. The owner of the house wanted the cats’ tails turned towards the house of the Great Guild, as he held a grudge against its members…
Mäu! – Mjäu! – Näu! – Njau! – Kurnjau!
“Foreigners often have difficulties understanding Estonian behaviour. In order to understand Estonia better, you need to realise that Estonians are actually the human version of cats!” This stereotypical theory developed by a blogger couldn’t be more refreshing!
Thousands of people have already fallen in love with Belarus – the cross-eyed kitty who loves the camera, lives in San Francisco and is a real social media furnomenon. Belarus on his Instagram page has now more than 300,000 followers…
“My pussycat, my pussycat, Don’t get on the shelf, Don’t drop the mugs. Don’t eat the cream.” Ukrainians have lovely nursery songs and well-behave kittens – they like to sing this lovely melody along with their favorite pet! Niav!
Moldova – Romania
When Romanians feel brave and want to get to the bottom of things, they tackle their problems head on. They say they are ‘breaking the cat in half’ (A rupe pisica-n două). Maybe not something animal-lovers would appreciate, but apparently, nothing says it better!
Cat lovers beware. Croatia, especially on the coast and islands, is simply full of cats. You will easily find yourself spending part of your trip sitting on a sea-facing wall somewhere, distributing a modest can of sardines, surrounded by satisfied and appreciative felines.
Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro – Kosovo
Cats are movies in the Balkans. If you’ve never seen Black Cat, White Cat directed by Emir Kusturica, go for it! It’s a 1998 Serbian romantic black comedy film that won the Silver Lion for Best Direction at the Venice Film Festival.
Albanians so much like their feline friends that they even dedicated a full collection of stamps to pay them tribute! In the country, cats and kittens miaow with the latin alphabet and most of the time several times: Mjau-Mjau!
He’s been making other cats green with envy but a Bulgarian moggy’s mysterious emerald coat has finally been explained! It has emerged that the cat who accessed to world fame for his unusual colours has actually been sleeping on the top of an abandoned pile of synthetic green paint in a garage.
What appears on the North Macedonian five denar coin? A big cat! Or, more precisely, a Balkan lynx – the largest cat in the Balkans and a national symbol of the Republic of North Macedonia. There are from 35 to 40 remaining Balkan lynx in the country!
Greece – Cyprus
Everyone that visits Greece ends up with a cat photo sooner or later! Greek cats are everywhere. There is even a breed, the Aegean cat, which is originating from the Cycladic Islands and is considered a natural cat, developed without human interference.
No one quite knows the Turkish Van’s true origins. According to legend, their ancestors sailed aboard Noah’s Ark. Once the boat reached Mount Ararat the cats hopped off and swam for dry land. God blessed them, and his divine touch caused their white coats…
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