The World Famous Cat Park of Lima, Peru

John F. Kennedy was as big in Peru as he was around the world, so to honor his legacy, the people here named a park after him.

Little did they know it would become famous for something other than JFK. There is a small bust of him on a pedestal in the park, but otherwise, the attraction here is the cats.

Smack in the Middle of Town

Located in the middle of downtown Miraflores, an affluent district of Lima, Peru, is Kennedy Park (Parque Kennedy), which is also known as the Cats Park. For more than 25 years this park has been the home for several hundred cats and no one seems to know exactly how it started. The most accepted version of the story is that priests from the nearby church introduced cats for plague control and the kitty population grew from there. Other people started dropping off their unwanted pets while others started taking care of them. Now, the nearby church, along with the Feline Protection Volunteer Group, makes sure the cats are fed and medically treated with care provided by local veterinarian students.

photo courtesy of Michael Ryan

photo courtesy of Michael Ryan

Everybody Gets Along

The cats are friendly with the more feral of the bunch staying in the trees or to themselves while the more domesticated lay about, ready for belly rubs, handouts, and attention. The Feline Protection Volunteer Group feeds more than 150 cats daily, spays and neuters all the cats, and helps find suitable adoptees. The cats, while not plump, are fed and appear healthy and clean. There is no hissing, growling, or fighting going on and in fact, it is a very serene atmosphere. Local office workers on their lunch hours and tourists alike flock here in the afternoons to read, eat, and share a little love with the resident cats.

Place to Relax

The park is kept clean and has no funky smells or messes to contend with. And, of course, there isn’t a bird or mouse to be found. Flower arrangements abound and areas for activities are usually full and in use by school groups, musical acts, or just residents relaxing in their local park. The cats are surprisingly friendly to visitors and each other. The park is a big tourist draw as visitors sit on benches or the grass and the resident cats jump on their laps or rub their legs. You may not care to visit if you have allergies, but it is definitely an interesting and worthwhile stop if in the Miraflores district of Lima.

photo courtesy of Michael Ryan

photo courtesy of Michael Ryan

Meet the Author: Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan is a full-time musician along with a humor, travel and outdoor recreation columnist. He's also an avid skier and golfer and has traveled extensively around the U.S, the Caribbean and Europe. His musical career takes him all over the U.S. and his wife drags him everywhere else. His weekly columns “The Life of Ryan” ran in the Transcript and Sentinel newspaper chain for several years and have been featured in the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Mile High Magazine. He is the co-founder, editor and humor columnist for ColoradoLocalLegends.com and currently resides in Morrison, Colorado.

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