Cats are everywhere in Riga? On the streets, in the houses on the buildings but why is this? Why does Riga have so many cats?
I was having a debate about this with one friend of mine and we came to the conclusion that the reason Riga has so many cats could be down to its history as a port city. Our theory was, with so many boats passing through, cats would have been used to keep the port and the boats free of rats.
So what is the locals affection for cats? Maybe in old times they were seen as the keepers of the streets. Keeping rats away, reducing disease and thus became revered. We see their use on The Cats House in the early 1900’s being used to insult another building by pointing their rear ends at it! Such use suggests that the cat was a strong symbol.
My friend and I proposed that lots of the cats we see today are in fact the descendants of sailing cats brought here from across the trading networks of the past 800 years! Quite romantic we thought and we settled it there and then. The reason for so many cats and for why so many (including the street cats) were so attractive was that they had come from far and wide thus bringing a wide gene pool with them!
Its a nice story really. Today you will see cats all over Riga. Old ladies feed them on the street and many live comfortable lives, in some cases better than the inhabitants of Riga themselves!