By Linda Hall • 16 March 2023 • 10:28
Image Credit: Bachkova Natalia/Shutterstock.com
And in Las Meninas – agreed to be one of the world’s best paintings, if not the best – Velazquez also did it first by illustrating Spanish attitudes towards cats and dogs.
Centuries ago he included a magnificent mastiff with a long-suffering expression in Las Meninas, which shows in detail the Infanta Margarita Teresa and her entourage.
Cut to Las Hilanderas and you see barefoot girls toiling in a workroom of the Royal Tapestry Factory accompanied by a common-or-garden tabby with a nice white shirtfront. The cat looks comfortable and well-fed but it’s lumped with workers, not a royal infanta’s entourage.
Spanish attitudes have changed since then, but in the early 1990s my own cats were not over-appreciated in rural Altea where we then lived.
That was because so many of our neighbours kept pigeons, either for the pot or racing. Some of those competition pigeons were worth millions of pesetas and my heart was always in my mouth as our over-nourished cats were nevertheless merciless hunters.
So one evening when Jasper banged her backside on the door, demanding to be let in as usual, I was horrified and terrified but not surprised to see a dead pigeon in her mouth.
She was clearly bewildered by my lack of gratitude but all I wanted was to destroy the evidence as rapidly as possible. There were no racing pigeon’s markings, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t earmarked for a lucrative future.
I put the bird in a plastic bag which I wrapped in newspaper before putting it in another plastic bag, repeating the process so many times that the package was eagle-sized by the time I’d finished and put it in the dustbin, ready for collection that night.
Nothing was ever said, no neighbour complained of a missing pigeon but at least Jasper had been given the chance to prove her worth as a working cat.
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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