In Malta’s Cat Village, recently relocated for property development, they know the cat psyche. “They are like men, where there are food and caresses, they come,” says Roza, who has been looking after the feral cats for years.
With an estimated population of hundreds of thousands, felines are integral to Malta. One interviewee in this documentary, Cats of Malta (directed by Sarah Jayne Portelli), has been neutering cats for over six decades and helping their survival.
Another is working on a huge statue honoring Malta’s cat population. Yet another has moved to Malta to bond with and care for the strays and happy to do so (“Christmas Day 2006 was when I started feeding cats in Malta – and you can’t stop.”). “You’re a tin opener,” she shrugs.
There are cat sanctuaries, cat adoptions, and much more. People to look out for the cat who is sick, people to give the elderly feral cat their forever home. People who simply give and receive love from cats, and explore the role of the animal in therapy.
Cats of Malta takes audiences on a journey through the colourful cat colonies, cat cafes, parks and streets. It looks at how the domestic animal with a high opinion of itself brings communities together and gives the smallest and sunniest island in the EU a purpose.
Perfect for families to watch, this documentary has an overload of cuteness and cattiness but remains completely interesting throughout.
I am a cat lover but even if you are not, there is a cultural charm within Cats of Malta which both venerates the felines and places them in the context of the daily life of the island, where some may disregard them and treat them as vermin.
Part travelogue, part character study, part celebration of the cat, this film is sweet and open, with an understanding and respect for the animal many of us cuddle up to at home.
The cousin of the big cats in the zoo and on safari which can be loving one minute and killing machines the next. Complex beings, but life would be poorer without them.
Cats of Malta is released on Apple TV and Amazon from this month (Malta & Spanish-speaking Latin America, 21 Sep; UK & Ireland, 25 Sep; Frances, Belgium, Luxembourg & Switzerland, 11 Oct).
It is also due to be broadcast on PBS at a date to be announced. For more information on all releases, go here. Cats of Malta is a film from Nexus Production Group.
Watch the trailer here –