Les Chats de Djibouti

Cats are everywhere in Djibouti . In the market they serve a useful purpose to keep down vermin, though to look at them it seems unlikely they are rewarded with food. But while I was photographing a selection of cats sleeping around or beneath the stalls, one owner called me into his shop, where he placed two kittens and their protective mother onto a box and invited me to take a picture.


I was privileged to visit the offices of an international NGO where the team had adopted a group of feral cats.  These are not your everyday domesticated moggies, but a pack of females (males are discouraged as their presence regularly  increases the population) who, as a pack,  aggressively demand food as soon as you enter the gate. If fed, they rapidly consume all traces of the gift before demanding more. But if you try to touch them they will hiss and scratch. This, despite one of the consultants bringing daily gifts of food smuggled from a nearby luxury hotel. In the following photo, the cat at the rear of the group is finishing the remains of half a baked fish which the humans had failed to finish the night before. The chef was probably surprised and puzzled when requested to wrap it to take away. If only he knew the intended recipients.


Chef villain is Hisser Boy (also female), who does just that. How ungrateful!