Cats in the Palace

Nineteen feral cats living in Mexico’s National Palace have been adopted by the government and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has declared them “living fixed assets”, the first animals to be designated such under Mexican law.

Source: TW/@Carmen-Hern, Infobae

The National Palace (Palacio Nacional) is a massive building in downtown Mexico City’s Zocalo plaza, which has served as a capitol building throughout Mexican history. It currently houses part of the federal executive government and includes an apartment which is the residence of President AMLO. (For more history of the building click here and scroll down to “Palacio Nacional”.)

There is a photo of the National Palace at the top of this website. Here is another one, which was taken on our family’s visit:

Source: Lilia, David and Raphael Wall, Mexconnect.

The Palacio Nacional has plenty of rooms and 14 courtyards. Part of it is open to tourists.
Here’s an interior courtyard:

Source: Lilia, David and Raphael Wall, Mexconnect.

Obviously, this building is ideal for cats.
The palace also includes a 300 square meter apartment in which President AMLO resides with his wife Beatriz and their son.

Source: Político MX

OK, so what about the cats?

For years, the National Palace has been infested with feral cats, and employees there have fed them on their own. Eventually veterinarians were brought in to vaccinate and sterilize cats, and even to install chips in the cats to monitor them. Besides being fed, little houses have been made for the cats.

In July of 2023, a cat was even filmed wandering into a press conference. (That cat died of old age last month.)

In April 0f 2024, AMLO took things a step further. As reported in Proceso on April 3rd,
“By order of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 19 cats that inhabit the National Palace will be officially recognized as ‘activos fijos vivos (living fixed assets)’. The measure guarantees a budget dedicated specifically to their feeding and health care for life.” [my translation]

The cat’s names are Panza, Ruffino, Topacio, Yema, Nube, Leona, Ollin, Bowie, Balam, Coco, Roja, Bellof, Princesa, Esponjoso, Ikal, Monita, Scar, Tigre and Bombón.

As explained by the Associated Press, “The investment term ‘fixed assets’ usually applies to buildings and furniture, but by applying it to cats, López Obrador’s government has obligated the country’s Treasury to give them food and care for them for the rest of their lives, even after the leader leaves office in October.”

Ingrid Newkirk, president of the PETA organization (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wrote a letter to AMLO commending him for taking this legal action.

(By the way, there’s a Mexican connection to PETA’s origin. The organization was founded in 1980 by British-born Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco. Pacheco was U.S.-born but his father was Mexican, and Alex was raised in Mexico).

In her letter to AMLO, Ingrid Newkirk said she was also sending cat toys and vegan treats for those feline “living fixed assets” in the palace, and she closed the letter thusly: “Every animal is somebody!”

Source: Eduardo Verdugo

One question though: Since these 19 cats all made their way into the palace on their own, what prevents other feral cats from doing so, especially when they discover what a great deal these cats have?

Will other cats also be declared “living fixed assets” or will they be feline illegal aliens?

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