Zadar: Where Birds Meow and Cats Perch in Trees

Last Updated on August 7, 2023

After spending time around my favorite birds from Zadar, the sun would begin to set and my flock of pigeons would roost for the night.

At that point, I knew it was time to begin my nightly trek to Zadar’s Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun: the monument whose re-opening I eagerly awaited.

It became somewhat of a habit to scan the treetops as I walked in Zadar.

I was always on the lookout for any of the familiar pigeons I had gotten to know in the city. I didn’t know where they went each night, but I always hoped to find out.

One evening, I was caught by surprise when I spotted something white in the tree above me. I saw something moving in my peripheral vision and I really thought whatever I’d seen had to be Belle or Jesse, the two white pigeons I had bonded so closely with, because of its stark contrast against the green, leafy treetops.

I jumped back a bit when I directed my eyes upward and saw the blazing eyes of a cat staring down at me. My fear was quickly wiped away when I noticed the cat was looking down at me with a glance of curiosity rather than hostility.

I had always heard those stories of “cats getting stuck in trees” as a child and immediately thought about how people would climb up things to help the cats get down. Was he afraid of heights, I wondered while watching him only climb up higher.

When the cat saw I was not moving on, he finally began to make his descent back down the tree. I guess he wasn’t stranded up there after all. In fact, from the ease with which he ran down the branches, I recognized that this must have been a pretty regular perching spot for the cat.

He navigated the tree with total grace running and jumping up and down its curved tree trunk.

The cat must have already been someone’s outdoor pet because he was very friendly to me upon our first time meeting. I had nothing but birdseed in my backpack and the cat looked up at me like he was expecting a treat. It made me feel bad since I had nothing to offer him so I went to the supermarket that night to buy cat treats.

Anyone whose cat has a pet-human knows of their great ability to influence us.

Naturally, after that day, I always made sure to carry birdseed and cat treats in my daily daypack while living in Croatia.

It was a nice throwback to Athens: a city FULL of cats.

I have never known any cat to enjoy treetops as much as this one had. Whenever I’d stroll by in the evening, he was always perched up in the tree like a bird.

I eventually got to know this cat’s friend/brother/partner (I have no idea what their relationship was) but these two cats were always in close proximity to one another.

I think the cat had some sort of a disability.

He couldn’t walk in a straight line and seemed to have problems with his vision too. I noticed this tabby cat acted a bit differently around me and was a lot less outgoing when compared to the one from the tree.

He stumbled a bit while walking so I definitely think it was something neurological. I’m not a vet so, honestly, I have no idea what exactly was wrong.

One day, I saw a lady walking out from a nearby building and she walked over to this gated area. I saw her opening a can of cat food and I realized she must have been the caretaker of these outdoor cats.

When she walked away, a bunch of seagulls flew over from the sea and chased the cats away from the food bowl. Usually, you’d think that birds should fear cats, but seagulls are apparently the exception to that rule.

Seagulls fear NO ONE.

After eating the food as if they were the ones rightfully entitled to it, I approached them and they started meowing at me. It was the weirdest thing. It didn’t sound like the normal seagull screeching you hear at the beach.

It really was like … a “meow”… coming from the gulls.

I guess it’s true that animals adapt to their surroundings. I don’t know if that’s common behavior for seagulls to make those cat-like sounds or for feral cats to perch in trees, but all of it was pretty eye-opening for me to see how animals adapt to their surroundings in order to survive.

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    1. Awww. On top of the doors!? That one sounds crazy, haha. The cat we had when I was growing up used to love heights too. I’d come from school and find him sitting in the most shocking places. I couldn’t ever figure out how he climbed so high! The cat I live with now… not a chance. They’re all so different! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos! 😀

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