You may think that Mermaids, being of a somewhat pescarian nature, might not appreciate the feline form, but you'd be quite wrong. Many Mermedonians have catfish as pets, for example.
But back to the subject of this blog. Mr Mermaid and myself often play a game to make our perambulations a little more interesting.
It's called the Cat Game, and it goes like this.
|Can you see this cat?|
The person who has the most cat points at the end of the day wins.
If you falsely call a cat and it proves to be a black bin bag, for example, or it turns out to be a cat statue, then you lose a cat point.
In England, most cats are secretive, domesticated, indoor creatures, barely seen except in a glimpse in a window as they look wistfully down on plebeians strolling by. Or they're collared, cut and snipped, microchipped garden brooders, squatting like cat loaves on shed roofs or balancing on fences.
In Athens, however, cats are a whole different species: semi-feral, exceptionally fertile, un-neutered, un-chipped, homeless scavengers. These cats tend to be grubbier, thinner scaredy-cats, sneaking around bins en masse while embarking on shady crepuscular activities.
|Cat Loaf position 1|
As you can imagine, with the amount of stray cats wandering completely unchecked around Greece, there were many to count on our walkabouts. We also saw two dead strays lying in the road after being run over by cars.
|Cats on food patrol near the Acropolis|
(This also explains the horrendous amount of ugly graffiti everywhere - appalling!! Like something out of a 1980s London slum).
The suburbs have their own kitties to count, but the area around the Acropolis and the Agora - ah! That's the place to go to play the Cat Game.
While Mr Mermaid and I were walking around the Acropolis, we reached a bumper crop of cats. I had seen 46 and he had seen 42 (and stroked as many as wanted affection) so we decided to pool our resources and see if we could reach 100. It's a challenge never before attempted during the Cat Game
|I can haz noms?|
But then on the way to the graffiti-infested Metro station, we saw a benevolent citizen had left a full bag of kitty food for the strays - and there were seven adult cats and three kittens nomming away (while giving us scared glances). A full 100!
Getting off the train we were met with Disney Bonus Cat.
In other words, a stray floofy-bummed kitteh ran in front of us, scratched a tree frantically like a wide-eyed furry weirdo, and then bounded off in a zig-zag across the road, with its ears flat back and its tail all puffed.
101. One hundred and one. Like the 101 Dalmations, only with cats.
And that's the story of our cat count game.