C.Y. FRANKEL

Jerusalem Strays

An estimated 100,000 feral cats live in Jerusalem. So far, municipality attempts to control the cat population haven't been successful. It's said that the sheer number of strays is due to them being imported by the British in the 1930s to deal with a rat problem. But no-one really knows. Indeed, DNA research shows that all the world's house cats are descended from five wildcat matriarchs in the Near East, probably domesticated in the villages of the Fertile Crescent and conceivably even within the region of Israel itself. During the daytime, the cats keep out of the way. But at night when the streets are quiet, the city becomes theirs and they come out to feed in the dumpsters, socialise, fight, play and relax, largely undisturbed by humans or traffic. This project is a series of portraits of these cats in the streetlit alleys in which they live and die.

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