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Around half a century ago, cats started living around Mexico’s National Palace. It’s not clear how they first got into the military-guarded complex. But, like cats do, they made themselves right at home and charmed everyone.

Since then, they’ve become a fixed asset, so much so that many people can’t imagine the palace without them. 

“I believe that cats are already a symbol of the National Palace. I would no longer understand Palacio Nacional without the presence of the cats, just as we would not understand this world (without cats),” said Adriana Castillo Román, the general director of the National Palace and Cultural Heritage Conservancy.

Mexico's National Palace cats, living fixed assets, President López Obrador, feral cats, Adriana Castillo Román, David Bowie, Nahuatl language, Mayan, Yuri Knorozo, 2

Mexican Palace Gardens via Wikimedia Commons with palace cats via YouTube/AP Archive

Now, in a first in “hiss-tory,” Mexico’s President Obrador has formally declared 19 of these cats “living fixed assets.” He is leaving office in October, but has wonderfully ensured the cats have care for as long as they live. And they even have a palace veterinarian, Jesús Arías, to care for them each day!

Mexico's National Palace cats, living fixed assets, President López Obrador, feral cats, Adriana Castillo Román, David Bowie, Nahuatl language, Mayan, Yuri Knorozo, 4

Image screenshots via YouTube/AP Archive

These famous cats go everywhere and even walk before the President to official ceremonies! Cats have also interrupted morning conferences with reporters, who have been amewsed.

 As far as we’re concerned, this is the correct procedure! 

“…López Obrador is accompanied by Bowie, Bellof, Nube, Coco, Yema, Ollin, Balam and more, who seem to have found a purr-fect home in the building. López Obrador himself has said the cats ‘dominate’ the palace and often walk in front of him during official ceremonies,” reported AP News.

Mexico's National Palace cats, living fixed assets, President López Obrador, feral cats, Adriana Castillo Román, David Bowie, Nahuatl language, Mayan, Yuri Knorozo, 3

Image screenshots via YouTube/AP Archive

David Bowie Kitty is Among the 19 Palace Cats

One of the most recognizable of the palace cats is Bowie, a handsome orange kitty (see videos below).

Mexico's National Palace cats, living fixed assets, President López Obrador, feral cats, Adriana Castillo Román, David Bowie, Nahuatl language, Mayan, Yuri Knorozo, 1

Bowie the cat

Yes, he’s named after the music icon from the UK, David Bowie, who visited the palace in 1997. We can be confident Bowie would be honored by his charming feline representative.

Bowie with Cats via Facebook

Bowie with Cats via Facebook

Other cats have names nodding to the ancient Aztecs and the Nahuatl language, like Ollin, a grey and white kitty whose name means “Movement.” Another cat, Nube’s name translates to Cloud. The palace was built on the site of an Aztec emperor’s palace and dates back to the 1700s.

Mexico's National Palace cats, living fixed assets, President López Obrador, feral cats, Adriana Castillo Román, David Bowie, Nahuatl language, Mayan, Yuri Knorozo, 5

Although the Aztecs may not have domesticated cats, Mesoamerican cultures had profound mystical reverence for cats like Jaguars, Pumas, and Ocelots. 

Video by the Associated Press:

Here are more scenes showing the National Palace’s feline ‘living fixtures’ happily roaming the grounds in Mexico City.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by The Associated Press (AP) (@apnews)

 

Video by AP Archive:

A Cat Helped Unlock the Mayan Code

We previously shared the story of a Ukrainian-born linguist,  Yuri Knorozov, who credited his beloved cat Asya for helping him unlock the secrets of the Mayan glyphs. The ancient Mayans dominated territory in southern Mexico and Central America for 1,000 years.

In the 90s,  Knorozov won the Order of the Aztec Eagle for his work and said, “In my heart, I will always be Mexican.”

living fixed assets, President López Obrador, feral cats, Adriana Castillo Román, David Bowie, Nahuatl language, Mayan, Yuri Knorozo, Mayan glyphs

Yuri Knorozov, who deciphered Mayan glyphs with help from his beloved cat Asya.

Featured images: Mexican Palace Gardens via Wikimedia Commons with palace cats via YouTube/AP Archive

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