Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, Rome

It turns out that I had miscalculated Peekaboo’s age, so we have to wait for another week to bring her into our household. Kittens should not be taken away from their mothers until they are at least 2 months old. So, we wait patiently for Monday, July 23.

On the subject of cats: I was looking through my photos the other day and found this one, which reminded me of the trip we took to Rome in April 2006. My husband had never been to Rome (fancy that!), and I hadn’t been there since I was in high school (an Italian liceo in Florence), so this was a particularly enchanting trip. Practically a new experience for both of us. But almost the best part of our trip was when we came upon Torre Argentina, a square that hosts the remains of four Roman temples and Pompey’s Theatre. Extraordinary. At one point, though, we began rubbing our eyes after seeing strange-looking little dots moving around among the ruins. Torre Argentina cat, Rome April 2006The dots turned out to be cats. Cats everywhere, sleeping, walking, playing among the ruins. Upon closer inspection, on one side of the ruins, we found the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, a shelter for homeless cats. Women called “gattare,” or “cat-ladies,” have been taking care of these cats since 1929. We walked down a few steps and then into the shelter, which is located inside a sort of low-ceilinged cave. We were very impressed with what we saw and with the stories we were told by the really friendly volunteers who run the shelter, and who feed and take care of all the cats. Sick cats are kept inside large cages, treated, then released. There is also a gift shop. Of course, I bought cat calendars (the photos are of these cats among the ancient Torre Argentina ruins) and T-shirts and left a donation. Have a look at the Wikipedia write-up on Torre Argentina, which also mentions the sanctuary: By the way, according to tradition, Julius Caesar was assassinated right here in this square. Cat-lovers who know Italian can check out: My final advice is, if you are a cat-lover and are on holiday in gorgeous Rome, please stop by this cat sanctuary (after or before eating a meal at Giggetto al Portico d’Ottavia, of course! 😉 ). You won’t regret it!

1 Comment

  1. We have a cat sanctuary in Cyprus too! A nunnery dedicated to St. Helen, who is credited with bringing cats to Cyprus and conquering the overpopulation of snakes on the island (Cypriots have an absolute horror of snakes, it is inbred into the population as far as I can tell). Anyway, this nunnery is occupied by, it seems, thousands of cats!!! The nuns put food out for them, all over the place, and the cats just loll in the ever present Cyriot sunshine. They are EVERYWHERE! For a cat lover, it is quite an experience. (for a non cat lover, it might be a little overwhelming!)

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