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A new declaration in Mexico gives 19 cats roaming the presidential palace food and care fur-ever
MEXICO CITY, April 7: They prowl through palace gardens stalking pigeons and make cameos on televised press briefings. Some greet tourists at the doors, while others take a sneaky lick of ice cream from staff.
Nineteen feral cats have free rein of Mexico’s National Palace, long roaming the lush gardens and historic colonial halls of the most iconic buildings in the country.
“They have access to every part of the palace, so they walk in on meetings, interviews and wander onto camera,” said Jesús Arias, the palace veterinarian, as a handful of feline friends brush against his ankles.
Now, the palace cats have made hiss-tory after the government of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared them to be “living fixed assets,” the first animals in Mexico to receive the title.
The investment term “fixed assets” usually applies to buildings and furniture, but by applying it to cats, Obrador’s government has obligated the country’s Treasury to give them food and care for them for the rest of their lives, even after the leader leaves office in October.
“The cats are now a symbol of the National Palace. Just as we understand this world, I wouldn’t understand the National Palace without the presence of these cats,” said Adriana Castillo Román, general director of the National Palace and Cultural Heritage Conservancy. “We have to make sure the cats are taken care of.”
Nestled in the heart of Mexico City, the presidential palace has long been the seat of Mexico’s executive branch. Now the residence of López Obrador, it is built upon the former palace of Indigenous Emperor Moctezuma. Ironically, Moctezuma’s ancient Aztec culture honoured not cats, but hairless dogs known as Xoloitzcuintle, who were even buried with their masters.
But these days, Obrador is accompanied by Bowie, Bellof, Nube, Coco, Yema, Ollin, Balam and more, who seem to have found a purr-fect home in the building. Obrador himself has said the cats “dominate” the palace and often walk in front of him during official ceremonies. (AP)


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