The Badass Polish Street Cats of Gdansk

Before I arrived in Gdansk, Poland, I still hadn’t seen a single cat on the street. There were lots of dogs, but not cats, but little did I know what a street cat population Gdansk had. The first one I saw during my first morning in Gdansk while exploring the Old Town and it looked wet and scared and a bit muddied. I hoped that it had a home to return to because it ran way when I tried to approach it.

Over the course of the next couple of days, I saw at least 8 other cats in the Old Town. And on my walk back from the Solidarity Center in the northern part of the city, I found a longer-haired version of Playbill. Needless to say, I was excited. I purchased cat treats at one of their local drug stores and gave them treats when they’d come near.

The little tabby cat (first photo) was the most adorable and very friendly. He was wearing a collar though so he was just hanging out on the Long Street (actual name!) before heading home. I gave him treats anyways. And on my last morning, I gave the rest of the treats to two cats who were hiding from the rain underneath a car (fourth photo). 

Apparently it’s not illegal to feed stray cats so you’d often see little empty cat food trays on the top of the stairs (like the stairs in the final photo). 

While exploring, I met a woman who was feeding a few of the street cats near her apartment and she gave me a flyer for an organization named KOTangens (’kot’ means cat in Polish) in Gdansk that’s trying to control the feral cat population (basically their version of our TNR programs). You can find them on Facebook here (if there happens to be any Polish people from Gdansk reading!).

Needless to say, I loved interacting with some of the streetcats in Gdansk. Definitely an unexpected surprise of my trip to Poland. 

Kinder Surprise!

I saw these in the airport in Gdansk and debated long and hard over whether or not I should try to smuggle these babies into the country. It only cost about $10 USD, and I ate one in the airport, so I said fuck it, let’s do this and live on the edge. There’s a $2500-per-egg fine if you’re caught trying to smuggle Kinder Eggs into the country but I’m pretty sure that only applies if you’re trying to smuggle thousands.

Let’s back up: These things are a European delicacy that was banned in the United States (or rather, chocolate candy with inedible toys inside were banned, not Kinder Eggs specifically) because apparently American kids are too stupid not to differentiate between an obviously edible chocolate egg and the plastic toy inside of it. A couple of kids choked on these little toys and ruined the fun for everyone.

So, I bought a box of 5, wrapped the box inside the bag from the airport store, and buried it in the top of my suitcase. I put chocolate bars on top of it in case there were chocolate-sniffing dogs at JFK, I could be all, “What? Yeah, those are chocolate bars.” 

To a totally anti-climactic ending, US Customs never even attempted to open my backpack. There were no chocolate-sniffing dogs. And I didn’t even get fined $10,000. I got my contraband into the country and gave a couple to friends and ate another one. 

Worth it? Totally. That chocolate is GOOD.