The Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria in Palma, Mallorca
I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful island of Mallorca in Spain when a friend of a friend asked me to look after her five cats in exchange for staying at her house for two weeks. I jumped at the chance, as I had never done anything like this before. I had a video call with the homeowner, Daniella, who lived in the small town of Binissalem in Mallorca. She explained that she needed someone trustworthy to look after her cats while she was away for a coaching course in Arizona.
Daniella had rescued the five cats as kittens and they mainly lived outside during warm weather. I would need to make sure they were fed twice a day and keep an eye on them. In return for my help, Daniella offered me her ensuite guest room and even allowed me to use her car. Though I hadn’t looked after cats since I was a teenager, I assured her that I found them cute and enjoyable companions.
I was a little nervous about staying alone in a stranger’s home in a foreign country, as I had always traveled solo but never in this kind of arrangement. However, my fears quickly dissipated. Daniella spent a day showing me around Binissalem’s center, a charming grid of narrow streets lined with stone buildings. She introduced me to some of her friends, fellow English-speaking expatriates, and even added me to their WhatsApp group where they shared upcoming activities.
After dropping Daniella off at the airport, my adventure as a first-time cat sitter began. She provided me with a photo and summary of each cat: Phiro, a young ginger tabby; Yoda, a shy green-eyed grey tabby; Nunik, a tabby with a white belly; Orion, a long-haired cat who ruled the house; and Jabbo, a black and white cat who was always begging for food.
I quickly settled into a routine. I would wake up to the sound of the town’s church bells, clean up after the cats, and feed them breakfast. Throughout the day, I would make sure they had enough food and water. If the weather was good, I would work on my newsletter in the morning and then explore the island in the afternoon. Some of my favorite spots were the beaches of Muro and Cove S’illot, both offering stunning views.
During my stay, I had the opportunity to take a yoga class and was even invited to a weekend retreat in the nearby Serra de Tramuntana mountain range. I also joined creative writing classes and had the chance to meet and discuss a novel with fellow book lovers. I tried some delicious food at local restaurants recommended by my friend Holly, including an Italian restaurant in Pollenca and a traditional Mallorcan eatery in Palma.
As my time in Mallorca drew to a close, I couldn’t help but feel a sadness about leaving my new feline friends. The experience of cat-sitting made me feel like I truly belonged on the island. I will always cherish the memories I made during my time in Mallorca and the bonds I formed with Daniella’s cats.