Full disclosure: Lia is a cat person, Jeremy is a dog person. But we’re both animal lovers, regardless of preference. Time will tell whether our future selves will be arrested for hoarding cats, dogs, llamas, or a combination of all three – it’s a tossup. Since we can’t have our own pets thanks to the evil San Francisco housing market (oh, and plus the whole taking a year off to travel thing, I guess) we like to vicariously adopt every animal that we meet as our own (like our cat friend from back home, Jasper. We miss you buddy!). We’re like crazy cat people with everyone ELSE’S cats. So when we heard there was a park in Lima, Peru filled with cats – and not stray cats, but well taken care of, groomed, fed, and happy cats – we were stoked to check it out and befriend ALL of the kitties. It did not disappoint. The Kennedy Park cats are a must see for any cat lover visiting Lima, Peru!
Our first impression of Kennedy Park: we were impressed. It’s incredibly well taken care of – and I don’t just mean the cats. There are beautiful plots of flowers, the grass is neatly trimmed, the walkways are swept and clean, and there are bowls of cat food and water at the base of every tree. You know, what all parks REALLY need. Oh, and there are cats. So many cats! It felt like an Easter egg hunt trying to spot them all.
The Kennedy Park Cats
There are fluffy Siamese cats. Old ginger cats. Feisty cats. Shy cats. Cats that love attention. Cats that just want to stretch out in the sun and nap. There is every variety of cat. We felt like Willa Wonka when he first walks into the chocolate factory: all around us were THE BEST THINGS and we wanted to touch them all, but we weren’t sure we were allowed to (this park is, after all, the property of the Kennedy Park cats). Plus, one time I went to a cat cafe in Oakland and the poor over-stimulated kitties lashed out at me. Literally – I got a claw through the hand just from walking too close to them. It’s the cat equivalent of turning into a giant blueberry and rolling away: the reward isn’t worth the risk.
Luckily, some of cats were as eager to make new friends as we were, and introduced themselves right away. We saw kitties happily snuggling onto the laps of excited visitors, enjoying belly scratches, and purring adorably while rubbing against the legs of whomever they pleased. We were overjoyed. At last, a public place in which we could consentually indulge our wildest cat lady fantasies without judgement or fear! … I didn’t realize how that sounded until after I wrote it. Please don’t judge me.
The cats are spaced out throughout the park and have plenty of fenced-off areas to roam in, so they can get alone time when they need it (which I totally get, as a person who is also kind of a cat). They’re taken care of by anonymous guardian angels, who keep them spayed and neutered, take them to the vet as needed, and keep the park clean of any undesirable odors. It’s an arrangement that’s been going on for at least 20 years, but nobody’s really sure how it started. It reminds us of the mysterious flock of parrots in Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, but somehow nobody’s made a documentary about it yet.
After about an hour of running around chasing after cats while screaming “LOVE ME! LOVE MEEEEE!” we reluctantly tore ourselves away. We can’t wait to go back again! And bring toys. And catnip. And a cage…. We kid (sort of.)
In summary, Kennedy Park is like heaven for cat lovers. And I bet it’s a lot like hell if you hate cats or are allergic to them, so, obviously, don’t go. But if you love cats like us, Parque Kennedy is a must visit spot right in the heart of Miraflores, in Lima, Peru!