SO WHAT’S A GIANT CAT STATUE DOING IN SLIEMA?

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In the dead of night, a colony of cats gathers under the moonlit sky.

The pride congregates within the Independence Garden in Sliema. They are all descendants of the first feline settlers who had made this territory their home in 1990. They and their forefathers have led peaceful lives within the thick foliage of this jungle, and the local tribe from the nearby village, the Sliemiżi, have served them well with offerings of food and comfort.

The pride has not forgotten its beatific ancestry. The reverence of the ancient Egyptians still resonates within every feline, and many a crazy cat lady comes to the garden to pay homage to the sons of Mau. However, in recent months, it has been the colony’s turn to show its devotion to the ancient gods.

The cats weren’t quite sure what to make of it. They arose one afternoon to find the sculpture gazing down on them. Well, it’s not so much of a gaze, but more of a regal glare that is common in most cats, both wild and domesticated. The cats had approached it with caution. At first, they could not fathom from whence it came, but after some delegation, the elders of the pride concluded that it was a sign from Ubaste, the Egyptian goddess of cats. She had sent the shrine as an offering to the colony, and in return, they must show their loyalty to her with worship. The pride has yet to decide whether mice and fur balls are sufficient offerings to the whimsical goddess.

However, they have agreed upon a spot which would act as a sacred temple for Ubaste. They have chosen a wooden gazebo which lies a few metres across the statue, and is reminiscent of the Greek theatres in honour of Dionysus. They huddle together, their furs ruffled to withstand the cold, and stand in a circle on the benches of the gazebo. Some lesser members of the community sit below on the ground. They look up to the statue in silence, and purr contentedly.

Well, that’s our theory anyway. If you’re ever taking an evening stroll along the Sliema front, do pass by to witness their prayer. However, you must approach quietly, as the cats do not like to be disturbed during such meditative hours.

Incidentally, the kitties still don’t know that this statue is actually the work of Matthew Pandolfino. I’ve a funny feeling that they will denounce this, but we’ll let them live out their fantasy nonetheless.