The Cats of Kennedy Park – Mira Flores, Lima, Peru

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In the center of the quaint municipality of Miraflores, Peru, stands Kennedy Park, or Parque Kennedy. In addition to its peaceful setting and picturesque views it also offers … cats. Lots of cats. In fact, approximately 80 stray cats make up the cats of Kennedy Park, where they are cared for and fed by a small group of anonymous guardian angels determined to keep them healthy and happy.

The story of the cats of Kennedy Park is one of mystery and intrigue, where good versus evil and so far at least, goodness prevails. No one knows for sure how it all started or where the first cats came from. But local residents agree that the first cats showed up in the Park at least 20 years ago.

Cats of Kennedy Park

These are just a few of the many stray cats of Kennedy Park.

I did not know of the Kennedy Park cats prior to my visit to Miraflores in 2013. It wasn’t until I strolled in to the Park, innocently enough, and noticed a couple of cats lazing in the midday sun that I became enlightened. Closer inspection revealed a few more cats … and then a few more. Sleepy cats, playful cats – black, yellow and gray cats – all peacefully at home in their Park.

Local residents are split in their opinions of what to do about the felines. Some are pleased with the status quo, approving of the refuge the strays have found in the park, and appreciative of those who care for them. Others feel the cats of Kennedy Park are a nuisance and health hazard and should be removed, even euthanized. It would appear, however, that those arguments are not valid.

The group of caregivers who tend to the cats capture a couple individuals each week and take them to a local veterinarian who examines them, neuters all the males, vaccinates them and provides any other healthcare they need. They are kept until they have recovered from any treatment, and then taken back to the park.

In addition, the park is cleaned and disinfected twice each day using pet-safe products. This not only kills germs and bacteria, but keeps objectionable odors at bay. During my visit to Parque Kennedy, I saw no evidence of any cat-related bio-hazards.

There is one thing on which everyone seems to agree, however – the current cat population is large enough, and measures are taken to deter residents from dumping any more stray cats in the park.

For me, the cats of Kennedy Park added a delightfully unique experience to our tour of Peru.  I can’t imagine any tourists who would feel otherwise.

 

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35 thoughts on “The Cats of Kennedy Park – Mira Flores, Lima, Peru

  1. Greg

    That seems like a strange tourist attraction – feral cats! But it sounds like they’re safe and healthy, so that’s good.

  2. Broderick

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is magnificent blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

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  5. Alonzo

    Terrific post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Kudos!

    1. Cherri M Post author

      Alonzo – I’m glad you enjoyed the post. However, I only write about my own personal travel experiences, and I only spent a small amount of time in Kennedy Park. There is lots of information on the cats available on the internet though. Just do a Google search and you’ll find it. Cheers!

  6. Bibi

    I was also at the Kennedy Park. Our Peruvian guide made us aware of this. Believe me it was very special to see . The animals are very well. They look very neat and are not shy. If you lie down on a bench you get spontaneous companionship!! Cats just started to like us. haha

  7. Christy

    I visit Mira Flores, Peru at least twice a year and always spend time in the cat park. I have also been known to take the cats many treats. The cats do not fight over the chicken I bring and even though they are considered a feral cat they are very friendly. I have talked to many people over the years that told me they cannot have cats in their apartment so they come visit and play with the cats at the park. I think the cat park is an excellent idea with the responsibility the citizens take to keep everything clean and the cats healthy. Way to go people of Lima.

  8. bailey

    “The story of the cats of Kennedy Park is one of mystery and intrigue.”Not so much… If you speak Spanish you can ask almost any local in the park and they’ll tell you the story of how the cats got there (Actually Lima/Miraflores is such an international city a lot of the locals speak English so maybe just be sociable enough to talk to/ask someone). ~20 years ago the park had a rat problem. They brought the cats in intentional to eat the rats. Which worked well- if you don’t mind cats. Now all they need to get rid of the rats is…Chinese?

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Bailey – That seems plausible. When I visited though, I did not hear that story from the locals. It sure is an interesting result, though, don’t you think?

  9. Sandra

    Cherri your post is still being read in 2016! I found this park during our last few hours in Peru last year, a wonderful memory at the end of an amazing holiday. I had wondered about the “cat park” so today asked Mr Google and found your post. Thanks.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Thanks for visiting, Sandra! I loved Kennedy Park … I found the story of the cats to be amazing!

  10. Elizabeth O

    What a heartwarming story about the stray cats in Kennedy Park and those who care for them. As a cat owner, I always feel a bit sad when I see a stray on the street. Reading about a comiunity where they are cared for is magical. Bravo! 💖

  11. Maryrose Altman

    I’ve been to this park, I had such a amazing experience! 99% of the cats are lovely. The garden is beautiful. It’s such a calming place to go and do work or read. This location is definetly worth going to. Peru is beautiful, along with the beaches.

  12. Kitties! :*

    Yes! I have been there every evening during my stay in Lima and fed them with cat food I bought in the super market. There were also local people with XXL cat food bags and water bottles and little plastic plates they took with them afterwards.
    In the first place, I also did not realize which park this was. When I wanted to eat in the park, suddenly the kitties were surrounding us and staring at the food! Then I realized what was going on.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      I think it’s very special how the community has come together to care for the cats. It certainly has made quite the interesting anecdote!

  13. Lisa V

    My husband is from Peru. We are currently visiting Lima, Peru. We’ve went to Kennedy park a few times already. The parks here are absolutely beautiful. After you mentioned in your blog about not seeing any cat biohazard, I thought about that and you are right. For a park full of cats, very very clean and no odors. I did not know that the park was disinfected. Wish the dog parks pack at home were clean and odor free. Thanks for the info on how the cats are cared for by guardian angels and vets. My son is allergic to cats and at first he freaked out a little and they never approached him so he was fine.

  14. Alissa

    I recently visited Peru and one of the highlights of my trip were my several visits to Parque Kennedy. I can’t think of any of the cats as “feral”, as that denotes a fear of humans. Quite the opposite!! The cats seem to LOVE humans and as soon you sit down you can expect to have 1 or two cats in your lap immediately. It was wonderful and I also like the way it seems to bring all the people in the park together, too.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      I couldn’t agree more, Therie! They make the visit much more pleasant and memorable.

  15. Irene Hogarth

    Hi Cheri, now your post is being read in 2017. Like you I knew nothing about the cats before I went into Kennedy Park, but then I googled and found your article. Somebody was feeding some of them tonight when I went back to get some photos. I agree – the cats add something special to the park. I hope they get to carry on living there in peace.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      I’m glad you enjoyed them, too, Irene. I haven’t been back to Peru since that first visit, but when I do, I plan to go to Kennedy Park and write an update on the cats!

  16. Steve R.

    I saw the cats too when I went to that park. They also visit the Catholic church across the street. There are statues on niches (saints, etc.) about ten feet off the ground, and sometimes the cats jump up there (somehow) and lounge around next to the statues.

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