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    Posted April 19, 2014 by
    Budapest, Hungary
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
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    A Purfect Park in Rio


    As cat lovers, we always keep our eyes open for these creatures. Therefore, when friends told us that a park in Rio, Campo de Santana, had lots of cats, we went straight there.


    Campo de Santana is a landscaped park on Avenida Presidente Vargas. It was right there in that park where, on September 7, 1822, the declaration of Brazil's independence from Portugal was announced. The park occupies a special place in the history of Brazil – we didn’t know this back then. Similarly, we ignored the gracefully designed gardens and the wide variety of trees.


    The moment we stepped inside the park, we were instantly overwhelmed by the hundreds of moggies, sitting, lounging, sleeping or chasing each other. It was as if we had crossed over to Planet Kitties. Human beings were certainly minorities in this realm. Officially, the park was home to numerous agoutis, ducks, peacocks, and marmosets. And they indeed were running wild in this enclosed paradise. However, they were simply outnumbered by their feline co-inhabitants.


    As we strolled around the park, we were worried that there would be scenes of inter-species violence. After all, the population density was rather high, bringing possible intense competition for resources. Moreover, among the residents, there were natural born hunters, cats.


    To our relief, it was a peaceful world, at least during the hour when we were there. The animals seemed to have adapted to sharing the living space and the resources: they drank from the same pools of water and lied underneath the same bushes. When a visitor sat down on a chair, the cats would automatically gather around expecting food, with some ducks also waiting among them.


    Nobody could tell us why there were so many stray cats in this particular park. Did it start with one single cat family? Or did people continuously abandon their cats here? Whatever the origin, it had evolved into a moggy kingdom, one that resonated the magical feline world depicted in Cats the musical.

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