A breed of feral cats living in Hafnarfjörður
A unique breed of wild Icelandic cats has developed in the lava fields surrounding Hafnarfjörður, a town just outside of Reykjavík. The breed is reputed for its astonishing beauty, intelligence and perseverance. Now a group of cat lovers have founded a charity for these cats and many kittens have found homes.
The charity, called Óskasjóður Púkarófu (The Púkarófa wish fund) is named after Púkarófa, a beautiful female with yellow eyes.
"I first saw her in Hafnarfjörður about four years ago," says chairman of the charity, María Þorvarðardóttir. "The fishermen told me they'd observed her for around nine or ten years in the area. "
Members of the charity have been making cat shelters out of plastic barrels, isolated with warm blankets which they have knitted. The cats are also fed daily. "The lava rocks in Hafnarfjörður have provided them with a good home," explains Þorvarðardóttir. "Through the years it has developed this unique, strong and beautiful breed. "
She adds that in the past, feral cats were considered to be a nuisance. "But they're simply fantastic animals if you manage to tame them. They're quite different from the domestic cat. You have to negotiate with them. You can't boss them around. They've managed to survive very difficult circumstances. They also keep the coast in Hafnarfjörður free of mice and rats." She explains that feral cats are quite different to domesticated cats that have been lost or left behind. "Those cats often try to become friendly with feral cats but that's never a good idea. They don't have the same essential qualities as the feral cats, who prefer living by themselves and not with man. They're a bit like gipsies and we don't want to change that. We respect their lifestyle."