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Eilat is a town in the South Sinai region of Israel. It is also known as “Aqaba of the East,” a designation that comes from its proximity to the Red Sea and from the ancient trade route that connected Egypt and India via Aqaba. Since then, Eilat has made a name for itself as a popular tourist spot.
Thanks to its colorful underwater coral reefs and vibrant marine life, Eilat is mainly a diving and hiking destination.
Cat lovers from all over the world also visit this desert resort to catch a glimpse of the feline natives.
Wandering stray cats are one of the most abundant sights in Israel.
Eilat, in particular, has numerous stray cats thanks to its coastal location. The sea provides natural resources for a large variety of animals, including the many cats who live on the beaches.
Israel’s population of stray cats is now believed to have reached the one million mark. They are an inherent part of Israelian culture and everyday life, living harmoniously with the people of the country (very much like the cats of Istanbul, which you can read about here).
The majority of the cats are strays, and there is a good reason for that. They are believed to protect the city of Eilat from rats and snakes.
Taking street cats out of their natural environment is therefore against the law in Israel.
Stray cats are fed on a scale not seen in other places around the world. There is a broad consensus that feeding strays is a good thing, and the government provides quality dry food and clean drinking water at fixed feeding stations that do not put the cats in danger and that do not constitute a nuisance to nearby residents. They keep the environment around the feeding area sanitary and keep waste dumpsters shut at all times.
It is also the government’s responsibility to spay and neuter stray cats to prevent uncontrolled growth of the feline populations.
I hope you enjoyed these photos of cats in Eilat, Israel. Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever been there.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to share your own travel pictures of cats on Facebook and Twitter.
Photos by VesaL
Text by Vanessa Morgan