Can you imagine the museum where dozens of cats walk around, sleep and eat? Well, that kind of a place really exists and it’s The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. People from all parts of the world come to visit this place not only because of famous and historical artworks, but to see these sweet and furry little friends, too.
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Childhood fairy tale
There are about 70 cats in this museum, and all of them are well cared for and loved by the workers and visitors. The reason why this place allows every resident cat to enter here is brilliant. All these cats are in fact museum’s secret helpers. Their presence makes mice and rats not want to come at all, and that’s the way they actually protect all those artworks. Kids especially like to visit this museum because that’s their living fairy tale.
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The number of 70 cats is museum’s final capacity. If there are more cats, there could be troubles because every cat has its own territory. The workers feed them once a day, but there are many spots where the cats are along the perimeter of the Hermitage. Museum’s staff has to get them clean, to give them fresh water and all of that takes a lot of time. The workers of this museum have also said that some cats are sweet and like being cuddled, while others do not like being held, such as those of the Siberian type.
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Most of them find a home
Most cats from this museum find a home. Visitors come to see all those marvelous historic arts and in the end, they decide to take a cat home. That’s another great way for removing them from streets and giving them a warm home. It is considered prestigious when someone gets the cat from the Hermitage, so people rush there for this reason, too.
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How did it all begin?
Cats are very important inhabitants at the Winter Palace and the State Hermitage. They’ve lived in the old Winter Palace since the times of Peter the Great when he brought the first cats from Holland. Later his daughter Elisabeth made a special rule for cats to be bred.
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“Secret workers” and a royal treatment
The Hermitage Museum spends a lot of money for cats’ food and veterinary checks. All of the cats are well cared for and go to the vet a few times a year. These cats are, in fact, well paid for their work! They are lucky working animals that have to run such a huge, historically significant place, and they hold such importance here.
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“The cat day”
Every year there is a cat day in the Hermitage. On that day, kids and people come to make “cat portraits” or to buy some of them. That’s a very import day both for visitors and volunteers because it’s been prepared for a whole year. It’s incredibly exciting celebration, especially for kids. And what to do when you see a cute fluffy cat going around your legs and purring? Well… it’s time to take it home. If someone falls in love with one of the cats, it is allowed to take it home, and become proud owner of the cat. From black, grey, and mixed colored cats, to pure breed cats… It’s only your choice!
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Other famous “working cats”
Cats weren’t helpers only in this museum. There are two more historical monuments where they were “hard workers”. Canadian Parliamentary Cats were brought in 1924, and they were employed until 1955. In the United Kingdom, the most famous helpers are cats that were in the Chief Mouser position in the Cabinet Office. The first “cat-protector” was brought in 1924, and there are still cats that protect the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister from mice. The last cat protector is called Palmerston and he “works” for Theresa May. In the following picture you can see a cat named Larry who was on duty from 2011-2016.
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Exciting celebration and lots of games
In the following video, you can watch how “The cat day” looks like. People patiently wait in line in order to meet all those amazing creatures. Most of the cats live in the basement, so all the visitors need to pass through there. “The cat day” also involves many discovery games, and one of them is called “A journey with an Hermitage cat”.
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Which one is the most beautiful?
Choosing which cat to take home can be really difficult, because all of them are beautiful in their unique way. People enjoy taking selfies and cuddling with them, and the museum’s stuff carefully decides who would be a good and responsible cat owner.
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