S01E02: Jessica Leah Tabak – Jeruaslem Cat Lady

Kindly human or malevolent city-wrecker? We ask the hard questions

With more than one feral cat for every four residents, Jerusalem is alleged to have the highest per-capita concentration of cats anywhere in the world.

And the close-knit community of women that keeps these animals sustained are affectionately (and sometimes disparagingly) known by some as Jerusalem ‘cat ladies’.

Back in the recording studio after a long hiatus (this time at Ben Wallick Music’s recording studio) The Borderliners Podcast talks to Jessica Leah Tabak, an aliyah adviser at Nefesh b’Nefesh and the part of the new generation of these women.

After learning that she has been cornered into appearing on a podcast whose tagline is “we interview the people nobody else wants to”, Tabak answers some hard-hitting questions on how she sees her self of identity as a young cat lady — and why she chooses to remain part of the problem.

Hosts: Daniel Rosehill and Nina Rabinowitz

Guest: Jessica Leah Tabak

Audio and remastering: Ben Wallick

What We Discuss

  • Introducing Taback
  • Why Taback became a cat lady
  • The close-knit nature of Jerusalem’s cat community

Links To Check Out From Tabak

The Hadera Cat Sanctuary

Follow the Sanctuary on Instagram

Tova Saul (Tabak’s cat hero)

National Geographic documentary



Before and after photos of rescued kittens

Cat adoption photos that will make you happy

Just for Fun

19 Pictures That Prove Cats Are Cute But Not To Be Trusted

My Favourite 33 Pictures Of Cats On The Internet

Sources Mentioned

Jerusalem’s cats have gone missing. A cat-astrophe? (Jpost)

“However, residents have been taking to social media lately to express concern over the recent disappearance of numbers of cats in certain areas of Jerusalem, particularly Nahlaot and Arnona, and are warning people not to let their pet cats go outside, even if they have collars. A disturbing photo was also circulating on Facebook of a cat dissected in half, which people were claiming was more likely to be the work of a person than an animal as the attack was too “clean.”

Jerusalem faces dilemma in dealing with hordes of stray cats (Times of Israel):

The concentration of stray cats in the Holy City is among the highest in the Middle East or even the world, experts say.

With nearly 2,000 cats per square kilometer (mile), it has a total of some 240,000, in a city of more than 900,000 residents, the Israeli official in charge of its veterinarian services, Asaf Bril, said.

Jerusalem announces $27k program to feed street cats (Times of Israel)

“Prof. Yoram Yom-Tov of the Zoology Department at Tel Aviv University also criticized the initiative. “It’s really crazy,” he told Haaretz. “The density of cats in Jerusalem is the highest ever recorded anywhere in the world — about 2,000 cats per square kilometer. That’s around 1,000 times the density of cats in the wild. The more cats are fed, the more cats there will be.”

Concerning Cat Population in Israel (Times of Israel, Blogs)

“Since cats feed on the food when people provide them. However, that does not mean a cat will not hunt with a filled stomach. Generally, their instincts compel them to kill. If not for starvation, hunting can be a sort of sport for the cats due to neuroticism and impulsiveness.”

What We’re About

We interview the people nobody else wants to. Peripheral characters from the fringes of Israeli society.