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There are two houses on Parliament Hill. There’s the one where the fur flies and the claws scratch. Then there’s the cat house just west of Centre Block, where six feral felines live and share breakfast every morning.
The cat sanctuary is a relic of the ’50s, when cats were recruited to control the rodent population on the Hill. But when chemicals and exterminators took over, the cats had nowhere else to go. Groundskeepers continued to feed the cats, and in the 1980s volunteer Rene Chartrand, nicknamed the Catman of Parliament Hill, built little wooden winter huts for them. In 1997, the cats were upgraded to a larger hut.
Today, one cat remains from the original line of Hill cats. The rest were abandoned at the sanctuary, but they blended into the group nicely. They rarely stray far from home, and Members of Parliament often visit.
Update: Parliament Hill’s cat sanctuary is now closed. Public Works announced the decision in late December. The remaining cats were adopted by the volunteers.
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