Saturday, 3 November 2012

It's a cat's life - so tell it to the Romans


Meet Nuschi - she was my neighbour's cat upstairs and I often looked after her when they were away at the week-ends. A small cat, but a darling. She died a few years ago, but had a good life. Was well looked after. She was a stray kitten in a part of Switzerland where the family often spent their holidays in a chalet. My neighbour adopted Nuschi, took her home in the car when the holiday was finished and she had a good well cared for life. A lucky cat finding a good home where she was loved.

Unfortunately this is not always the case and Rome has a problem with its cats. Why Rome? I read something in our local newspaper that made me feel sad. I am a cat lover, so anything to do with cats interests me. Some time ago I found this cat site on the web Torre Argentina.

Just have a look around at the good work they are doing. Cats are a plague in Rome, I think there are probably more cats than people there. They feel at home in the old ruins probably, but they belong there and are strays. The tom cats see a feline cat and hopla, a few months later another litter of cats is born (probably sharing a few different fathers - it's a cat's life). A lot of the cats carry diseases and the cats are everywhere. Visit the colliseum as a tourist any you will probably see a few cats bathing in the sun resting on an old Roman relict.

It was then that a groups of cat lovers decided to do something about the situation and grounded Torre Argentina. They  took in stray cats, fed them, gave them medical care and yes, they sterilised them. An Italian friend of mine was once on holiday in Rome and stumbled across Torre Argentina. She said it was fascinating to see the many cats just feeling at home there. 

This morning I read this in our local newspaper (my translation).

"Rome is not only the etneral city, Rome is also the city of the cats. It was no accident that the Roman Parliment declared the felines as the cultural heritage. Ten thousand cats parade through the "centro storico", no-one really knows how  many there are. And this is the problem. The animals have no home, are wild, ill and above all they reproduce theirselves unchecked.

How good that the cat care station  Largo Argentina exists. Near to the Pantheon some engaged ladies look after the cats affectionately. They feed them, have them vaccinated and above all see that they are castrated. This, of course, costs a lot of money., but because Torre Argentina is well known amonst cat friends in the whole world, the donations flow regularly. This has maintained the cat station since 1994.

Now Torre Agentina should disappear. The city council has decided. The reason: for the removal of this cat haven is that no building permission exists and the existence of illegal buildings in an antique town is absurd. No! Absurd is more this argument. In Rome there are ten thousand illegal buildings. Nobody does something again them. Why of all things make an example of a cat care station.

However in the eternal city many decrees have petered out,  so let us hope that the ladies and their cats of Largo Argentina can count on their cats."

I so hope that his happens and the cats and their carers can carry on with their good work. No, I have never donated to this work. There are so many things that deserve donations and this does not seem to be the problem. Just pure beaurocracy and Italian strange methods. 

Good luck Torre Argentina and I hope that the good work continues.


  1. An excellent animal charity, doing important work. I hope they successfully fight the dense Rome bureaucracy!!

  2. You know Pat, it is very very sad that something wasn't done for these cats before it became a problem.

    I could never visit a country where one would see malnourished animals.

  3. Much better to see cats in Rome than many of its people... Good initiative of those ladies...hope they will 'get around' the regulations, which seems to be one of the national pastimes.... Great post!