Posts about Cats

515. the guardians of recoleta

12 Sep 2014

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Every so often, I’m surprised by people’s interest in Recoleta Cemetery. Most appreciate its beauty as well as enjoy Argentina’s history condensed into four city blocks. And many people admire the cats… but no one loves them more than Blake.

Blake Kuhre contacted me several months ago about his plan to make a documentary telling the story of Recoleta Cemetery’s most famous living residents. Marcelo did some investigation as to their well-being & care several years ago, but Blake went even further. He actually managed to interview the woman who organizes & pays for keeping the cats healthy & happy. Access we couldn’t get in 2010!

Blake talks about his inspiration for the documentary:

Visitors from all over the world visit Recoleta Cemetery expecting to just pop in and see a few famous tombs, take in the gorgeous architecture, then check it off their list and move on to their next spot. But before they leave, so many are smitten with the dozens of friendly cats that have been part of Recoleta Cemetery for many years. How did they get there? Who’s taking care of them? How can I help? These were all questions we asked ourselves 7 years ago when we first visited, and it killed us to return home to the US, back to our day jobs, all the while wondering and wishing we had closure.

By contributing to our campaign, you’ll help help preserve the legacy of the Guardians of Recoleta for many years to come. We say “Guardians” because cats are very independent and no one actually “owns” them, the cats themselves are de facto guardians of the cemetery, our main character has been their Guardian for 20 years, and you’ll also become a Guardian by contributing to our campaign. Ideally, we’d like to see every cat adopted but the truth is even if this goal were achieved, people will still use Recoleta Cemetery as a dumping ground for their unwanted felines. Your donation will help get our documentary made and distributed, spread awareness to the situation and cause, champion pet adoption, TNR, and help us establish & partner with a Buenos Aires non-profit to ensure every cat will continue to receive care.

With three weeks left for the campaign, Blake’s project became a Kickstarter staff pick and was featured in the Film & Video category. 25% of funds have been raised as I write this… please help spread the word & contribute to make a permanent record of the guardians of Recoleta Cemetery. I’ll be donating as well as giving an exclusive tour of the cemetery for some lucky contributors.

Thanks for the support!

Update (03 Oct 2014): Very happy to report that Blake reached his goal, so the cat documentary will become a reality! We contributed USD 500 to the project & will soon be hosting Blake in Esquel. More behind-the-scenes production news soon…

Update (24 Nov 2014): With funding secure, Blake got to work scheduling interviews. I offered to fly to Buenos Aires, but he had a better idea… why not film my interview where I live? Brilliant. Blake spent one evening in Esquel, but I was able to show him a little of what makes Patagonia special. The scenery will be a good counterpoint to the cemetery & happy about my second video appearance!

Patagonia, Esquel, scenery, Guardians of Recoleta

Patagonia, Esquel, Robert Wright, Blake Barrett, Guardians of Recoleta

Patagonia, Esquel, Robert Wright, Guardians of Recoleta

491. kitty sunset

02 Feb 2013

For a long time I’ve considered creating a space for contributions… photos of the cemetery I find interesting taken by someone other than Marcelo or me. Or perhaps highlight online galleries of Recoleta Cemetery. Not really sure what form it will take…

But here’s our first contribution. Romina Berardi is an interpreter & translator by occupation but also loves photography. Her equipment of choice is a Nikon D60, & I couldn’t resist her capture of a cat at sunset. Thanks for the contribution!

478. squinting

21 Aug 2012

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, cats

390. cat care

15 Feb 2010

Cats, Recoleta Cemetery

One of the most common—& perhaps surprising—sites at Recoleta Cemetery is the large number of cats that wander around, relax in the sunshine & allow visitors to pet them. In the early morning or around 17:00, women with bags can be seen surrounded by cats who they call by name. These women form part of a volunteer group that feeds the cats, spays or neuters them, & whenever necessary takes them to a local veterinarian.

One woman from Recoleta neighborhood coordinates all cat care & does not want her identity revealed “because I am a well-known person.” She says that for the past 12 years she has done this so “the cats are provided for, & above all, so that there are no rats in the cemetery.” The food is prepared in her home & consists of rice with liver or heart, among other preparations. In addition, once per month all cats are inoculated with an anti-flea injection & given any other veterinary care they may need.

There are around 40 cats at present, & it is prohibited to take one home. “The police will stop you,” she says.

She affirms that all this care “comes out of our own pockets”… although she would be happy to receive donations. See the alert box below for more details.

The last thing we asked about was why she does this. The answer was very simple: “for love of the cats.”

As mentioned, the cat caretakers value their privacy. If any reader would like to make a donation, please leave a comment in this post, & we can put you in contact with the volunteers.

350. profile

13 Nov 2009

Cats, Recoleta Cemetery

336. royal company

05 Aug 2009

Cats, Recoleta Cemetery

Keeping the Countess company.