Thursday, 27 February 2014

Cats In The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City in the centre of Beijing is the huge former Chinese imperial palace and its grounds, now home to the Palace Museum.

If you visit the Forbidden City you will probably see  quite a few cats roaming around.

There are about 200 cats living in their complex and their job is to keep rats and vermin away from the cultural relics.

Some of them may even be the descendants of royal pets of the past, while the rest are stray cats taken in by the museum staff, said Ma Guoqing, director of the sanitation department of the Palace Museum.

Cats have long lived in the Forbidden City, which dates back more than 600 years. They were kept as royal pets in the past, playing with the emperor and his relatives.

It is now a managed population with around 180 cats being neutered in the last five years. The cats are vaccinated,  given vitamins and allowed to stay inside in cold weather

“They are a powerful deterrent to museum rats and we have not found a single piece of cultural relics damaged by cat claws,” said Ma.

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