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Hermitage Secret Service: Agent Meow

Cats on a undercover royal duty…

Everyone knows about legendary Hermitage, but not everyone heard about its secret inhabitants. There are not only world famous pieces of art, but also more than 60 cats, the coolest Russian cats. They are on duty of law and order. You may be wondering why these fluffy four legged creatures are doing here.

The answer is simple: they protect the cultural heritage. Thanks to them, the Winter Palace successfully withstands the siege of the guards of the Mouse King for the third century in a row.

Photo: infoint.ru

Cats of Hermitage have themselves become a cultural heritage. The museum staff say that to kick them out in the street is the same barbarism as to dump Rembrant’s painting from the tenth floor. They’ve become Hermitage’s symbol just like Tower’s tamed crows.

“To find the best and biggest cats in Kazan, smart in catching “mouse-catchable” mice, send them to Saint Petersburg to her Majesty’s court”.

This order was signed by empress Elisaveta Petrovna. This unique example of lawmaking was called “Decree of cat dispatch to the court”. 1745.

Photo: VistaNews.ru

When Ekaterina II moved to Winter Palace, she took all cats with her. People called them “winterpalacians” and split according to class stratification. Those who passed the casting, were taken to rooms, the rest were defined as “yard cats” who lived in courtyards and basements of the palace.

They protected Empire from rodents and felt not less happier than court cats.

Photo: VistaNews.ru

They could easily survive the Revolution, but blockade of Leningrad was the hardest period for them. Hungry people ate all cats and the city was full of rats. The cat was worth a loaf of bread – capital!

There’s a well-known historical fact. Right after the breakthrough of the blockade, two echelons of cats were sent to Saint Petersburg. A huge queue lined up for them. The Hermitage was in priority. In a few years “ermiki” (nickname given by museum staff) grew so insolent that the staff had to drive off the royal chair.

Local cat community now still has a clear social hierarchy. Here is their own aristocrasy, middle class and mob. Here are some famous inhabitants:

Figaro – he was given this name because of his phenomenal elusiveness. He is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Ben Laden – he was called “persik” (peach) because of his hair. But later his severe character revealed.

Portos – maniacally affectionate cat of huge sizes.

There are even excursions to the basements of Hermitage to see how they live till nowadays! They are definately worth visiting!

Photo: Spb.kp.ru

Local cat community now still has a clear social hierarchy. Here is their own aristocrasy, middle class and mob. Here are some famous inhabitants:

Figaro – he was given this name because of his phenomenal elusiveness. He is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Ben Laden – he was called “persik” (peach) because of his hair. But later his severe character revealed.

Portos – maniacally affectionate cat of huge sizes.

There are even excursions to the basements of Hermitage to see how they live till nowadays! They are definately worth visiting!

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