The entrance still stands as a beloved and iconic piece of neighborhood art, and though it is no longer a place for tired cats to rest, it still serves its other purpose, as a memorial to four cats from many years ago.
The decorated tile on the front of the cat house reads the words in the local language of Catalan: “A la memòria dels cuatre gats que quedaren al barri del Carmen l’any MXCIV * Mai se les va a sentir un miau mes alt que altre.”
(Translated: In memory of the four cats that remained in the neighborhood of the Carmen in the year MXCIV * There will never be any better thieves.)
** “MXCIV” translates to the year 1094. I wondering if this is what is meant or if the artist was using a different calendar other than Gregorian.
There is also an oddly humorous tile that states “Asegurada de Incendios” which in Catalan means “Insured from Fires.”
These four cats must have made quite an impression to have a memorial built for them.
The legend surrounding this cat casa says that the house was built by a woman that owned the property behind the wall, and she left it for the feral cats to call home. However, many of the people that I talked to from the neighborhood said that the artist is alive and well, and you can often find him sitting on the street with a cigarette. Sadly, I never encountered this man, but would love to talk to him to find out more about these four cats!
The decoration of the kitty casa facade is done in the local Valencian style and includes several windows, with curtains. Inside the windows are grainy photos from another era. One window shows a middle-aged couple standing in the bright sun, looking like that are about to go on a date. In another window, what could possibly be the same couple are standing rock jetty, looking out at what appears to be a small passenger ship. Another shows a classroom filled with young children deep in study. Two of the larger windows have curtains with an interior view of abstract collages, one very clear image of a man, and an arrow pointing to ‘Cafe Museu.’
Is there a hidden meaning in these photos?
SO MANY QUESTIONS!
Other details of this attraction include:
– a tiny water fountain, that looks like it might have actually been operational at one point, as it includes a tiny drain.
– what was once a place for small plants to grow, but now is probably used as a litter box.
The CAT HOUSE of VALENCIA is one of the weird things that makes this a very special city.
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