Last year, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his family adopted an adorable kitten named Stanley from the Ottawa Humane Society, but it wasn't the first time a cat has held a position of power in Canada.
For over 30 years, a colony of stray kitties known as The Cats of Parliament Hill have made their home in the precinct of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, thanks to one cool cat lady named Irène Desormeaux. It all began in 1955, when the cats who were used as a natural form of pest control at the Parliament Building, were unceremoniously replaced by more man-made substances. However, groundskeepers continued feeding the felines at various locations on the grounds, until Desormeaux came along and established a designated area for the sanctuary in the late 1970s.
Desormeaux was eventually joined in her efforts by fellow caretaker, René Chartrand, who took over the reigns when she passed away in 1987. During his tenure as the "Catman" of the Hill, Chartrand constructed the charming shelters seen above, and received the Heroes for Animals Award from the Humane Society of Canada for his work in 2003. While the cat man has since retired from his post, a dedicated team of volunteers continues to care for the small colony, which relies completely on donations for support.
To help control the population, the cats are spayed and neutered and receive free medical care when needed. While some reports state that as many as 30 felines resided at the sanctuary in 2003, today the population has dwindled to less than a dozen, including current residents Fluffy, Ti-gris, Bébé, Spot, Max, Bugsy, and Coal.
To learn more about The Cats of Parliament Hill, check out their official blog or Facebook page for more information.
Thanks to Christine for the tip!
Know of any cat-themed travel destinations or have some cool kitty vacation pics you'd like to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!