When my brother Aaron and I visited Russia, we made sure to visit the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg that now houses the Hermitage Museum. The palace was the principal home of the imperial family, though a section first opened to the public as the Hermitage Museum under Nicholas I. Its story before and after the Bolshevik revolution is interesting, but its most remarkable period may have been during the siege of Leningrad in World War II. The museum housed residents underground as the Nazis bombed the city. Its dedicated staff hid the museum’s enormous collection. Unfortunately, it appears that its population of cats dwindled during that dreadful time. The people of Saint Petersburg probably ate the cats and their prey themselves. It is amazing that people and cats survived the two and a half year siege at all.
If you have the chance to visit Saint Petersburg, I highly recommend it. Maybe, you’ll meet one if its imperially housed felines.