Many parts of Lisbon are intensely urban, so your high-rise kitty may be limited to your balcony for ventures into the fresh air. On the other hand, there are plenty of neighborhoods with private homes and leafy backyards where your feline friend can join you to take in the warm sunshine or find a shady spot.
So how your indoor/outdoor cat adjusts to her new home in Lisbon will depend to some extent on where you live. Every cat lover knows that, although these creatures have many wonderful traits, fondness for change is not one of them. Most cats would prefer not to move into a new house down the block, let alone moving to a new country. So relocating to Portugal will require extra thought and planning on your part to ensure your precious Princess makes the transition as positively as possible.
There are lots of ways you can help her adjust to her new home, taking it one delicately-placed step at a time as she prefers. In fact, there are several things you should specifically do on your very first day together in Lisbon. Reading up on these things in advance will help you be prepared to provide good experiences for Princess right off the bat.
There are preparations you’ll want to make – or at least be aware of – that will smooth your experience as a pet parent in Lisbon, too. For example, if your furry family includes more than Princess, you’ll need to know that you may not have more than four pets in your home. They can all be cats, but if you decide to get a dog at some point in the future, the allowable total is still four. This applies regardless of the type housing or neighborhood you live in.
Princess will need to be registered and licensed. You can do that at the Junta de Freguesia (city administration building). Registration is a one-time thing, licenses must be renewed each year. You’ll have to show proof that Princess has a valid rabies vaccination. That won’t be a problem, since the documentation required for her to enter Portugal includes a rabies certificate. Cats do not have to have a microchip for licensing, but Princess will have one anyway, again thanks to meeting her import requirements.
She will be in good company in her new home. Pet ownership is on the rise in Portugal, and more than half the country’s now include at least one pet. There were about 991,000 cats in 2012, but as of 2017 there were about 1.5 million. With the increase in focus on pets, the government has officially protected them as living beings rather than “things” someone might own. We know you’re a great cat mom, but isn’t it nice to know your new fellow countrymen have the same caring attitude?
One thing that’s different from the US is that, by law, pets cannot be denied access to public transport. If Princess us up for a road trip by bus or the subway, she is free to board. Do know she must be in a carrier (or on a leash, though we suspect she won’t go for that). And if seating is in short supply you will have to hold her carrier in your lap. You’d probably do that anyway.
A Portuguese story every cat-lover will appreciate
In case you’re looking for a unique “cat house” for Princess, this sweet story from the mountains of southern Portugal may provide inspiration. It seems that, back in 2015, a vet in the town of Monchique was concerned about the tremendous number of stray cats and their rough living conditions.
Dr. Ana Silva had just finished treating two more stray kittens when she saw them make a beeline for an old washing machine. It was sitting in her yard awaiting the garbage collector. “So I put in some blankets,” she says, “and they never left.” And that gave her an idea.
She started a non-profit called the Aqui Há Gato (Here is a Cat) with a mission unlike any other. They place cast-off washers (and dryers) around town so the stray felines have places to sleep that shelter them from the sun and winter weather. Local school children and cat-loving adults decorate the appliances. Dr. Silva would love to see her idea spread throughout Portugal.
Whether or not you create a washing machine McMansion for Princess at your new home in Lisbon, we know that, with your help, she will adjust purrfectly to her new surroundings.