You may have recently seen my post about cats on the island of Santorini in Greece. Santorini was the first stop in a two destination trip to Greece. Athens was next in line!
While I was pleasantly surprised by the number of cats I encountered on Santorini, I actually assumed it would be limited to the island. I didn’t think a city the size of Athens would have nearly as many cats around due to the number of people and the lack of parks and fields.
Little did I know I was in for another big surprise! There were cats all over in Athens. You could certainly say the city was cat crazy! In a good way though, at least I certainly thought so. We stayed right in the center of Athens near the Acropolis.
The first morning, we looked out through our hotel window and found this little guy staring right back at us. He didn’t seem even slightly worried about our presence. If anything, he seemed to be asking “Where is the food I so desire, my human friends?”
If you’re planning to go to Athens, or you’ve talked to anyone that’s been there, you’ll know that the one thing you simply can’t miss is the Acropolis. It is iconic, placed at the very top of the city. You really cannot miss it even if you want to. And apparently, this isn’t lost of the feline population either. The beautiful young lady from the top picture was hanging out right next to the Acropolis and watching down over the city. I assume she is the God of Cats and is simply looking down on all the humans that are her subjects.
As we continued through the city, we encountered numerous other cats. Our next major destination was the old Agora east of the Acropolis. There are still remnants of the marketplace, bases of buildings, stairs, bridges. They are scattered throughout what is now a cultural heritage site. A few of the buildings have been completely restored to their original state and have tons of amazing artifacts inside. You could easily spend hours there! On the way there we encountered this gigantic fluff ball roaming the sidewalks between houses. Friendly as can be, she wanted nothing but pets and meowed up a storm!
Our next major destination was the Temple of Zeus the next morning, so we decided to head for home. Athens is a very walkable city so we meandered through the side streets instead of grabbing a cab. Little did we know we’d have the luck to meet up with a small colony of outdoor cats that were clearly well taken care of by numerous members of the neighborhood. All of the felines were congregating in one spot before someone even showed up to feed them! We had stopped to consult our map briefly and watch the cats. Then a car arrived. I thought it was just parking at first until they opened the trunk up and put numerous bowls of food out for the cats. The purr storm started pretty much immediately as they got both pets and dinner.
The next morning, we were off toward the Temple of Zeus bright and early. Little did we know that we’d end up at the wrong entrance and instead find a mother cat that had clearly given birth in the past few weeks. She had a litter of at least three running around causing havoc and showing no remorse when accidentally clawing or biting the silly tourists that decided to say hello! While I would have preferred not to be used as a chew toy I managed to limp onward. We shortly figured out where the entrance was, and we moved along the side of the park toward it.
Arriving at the entrance, we were greeted by this little lady. According to the guard, she was the “guard cat” and was there pretty much every single day watching over the entrance to ensure no degenerates or thieves might be around. She was determined to be paid in belly scratches and loved showing off her tummy to anyone that would come near her. As you can see she was quite shameless in her drive to get those belly scratches, and it wasn’t a “human trap” as it often is.
After the Temple of Zeus, we wandered the streets through the shopping and restaurant areas. Athens is a beautiful city, loaded with history and with brand-new buildings interspersed between the old. A lot of the city streets are thin and difficult to manage in a regular car. Motorcycles and mopeds make up a huge part of the traffic. And while humans are responsible for most of them, we did find this little lady getting ready to go for a ride. She was just digging out her keys as we walked past, and she gave us a good meowing.
We couldn’t take her up on her offer for a ride because we had places to be. And let’s be honest, who would trust a cat to drive a moped safely in a city full of crazy humans? They might get easily distracted by a mouse or a rat running across the street. Speaking of which, on the final walk back to our hotel one evening we decided to take in the Acropolis one more time. It is actually a very long walk to circle it given how gigantic the plateau it is placed on is. While circling it around dusk and watching the lights flip on, we were quite surprised to see another rare event. We actually managed to take in a cat capturing a mouse right at the foot of the Acropolis.
As you can see, she has absolutely no intention of sharing, not that we really wanted any of it anyway. But she could have at least offered, right? If you look closely, you’ll see her friend hiding in the back of the picture waiting to partake. So off we went to find our own dinner and then make our way home from Greece the next morning. Athens was a beautiful city and made even more so by the number of felines roaming its streets and sidewalks. If you love visiting cities that have both a bit of modern and a bit of history then you definitely need to make it to Athens. On top of that, if you like cats and want to fit some of them into your vacation, you’re in even better luck; we pretty much saw them at every twist and turn.
Craig is the founder and author of the cat blog StuffCatsWant.com. StuffCatsWant is dedicated to providing high-quality product reviews about all sorts of cat products and providing advice on general cat care. Craig has owned numerous cats, fostered even more cats and is a long time volunteer at PAWS Chicago.