Hundreds of cats hang out in the huge Montmartre Cemetery where they prowl among the graves and sit on the headstones of famous former Parisians.
“These cats are always hiding and tend to be très timide (very timid), so often I had to tempt them with my feather teaser and handfuls of cat treats,” says photographer Rachael McKenna in her book The French Cat. “It’s amazing how a couple of green feathers tied to a stick are irresistible to even the coyest cats. What I do is wiggle the teaser and a trickle of treats to lure her or him into position. Usually, the cat would follow me down the road to a setting I’d chosen and then, hopefully, click!”
The cats of the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris
, are well looked after. Every day around noon, a man (Saujot, a true cat lover) arrives at the cemetery hauling thirty kilograms of cat food on a little trolley. He walks six kilometres from home and pays for the food himself out of donations from cat lovers. Meanwhile, the cats, most of them tabbies or pure blacks
, are sleek and well fed. Every day they appear from their hiding places behind the tombstones to gobble up their rations.
Goodness knows who the gendarmes
fine if the strays of Montmartre
decide to scale the high wall around the cemetery and go rat hunting through the back alleys of Pigalle and the Marais during the midnight hours.