Everybody Wants to Be a Cat... in Rome!

A note on the new pictures I've posted on Flickr... These photos were taken at the "Area Sacra" at Torre Argentina in Rome at the end of last month.

As you can see from the pictures, the ruins of at least 4 ancient Roman temples (some of the oldest ever found in the city!) were discovered here in the 1920s. Because this is now, as a result, a protected area smack dab in the middle of Rome, it - like the Colloseum and the Roman Forums - became preferred haunts of the Roman stray cats. So much so that now there's officially a cat sanctuary here (which you can visit virtually at romancats.com) and at last count there were something like 250 felines who call these ruins home! (And you thought that your local cat lady had a lot!!)

A few years ago, I actually saw a documentary called "Cats of Rome," directed by Michael Hunt, who spent - I heard - something like 3 years filming the project. In it, they discovered that these stray cats actually behave a lot like prides of lions on the African savannah! In fact, I felt kinda like I was on safari when I took these photos... :-) Not to mention that I couldn't get "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat" from "The Aristocats" out of my head!

What's more, in the Italian version (called the "Aristogatti"), O'Malley is actually dubbed with a Roman accent and calls himself "Romeo"! He continues in Roman dialect to say that he's "er mejio del colosseo" (or "the best cat in the whole Colosseum!" And, believe you me, with all those cats, that's really saying something!!)

P.S. Want to lend a hand to the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, which has no government funding and lives off donations alone? According to ArkOnline...

Torre Argentina urges animal lovers to send letters to Prof. La Rocca, the Roman authority in charge of the archeological site of Torre Argentina. Please ask La Rocca to approve plans for linking the shelter with the city's sewer system, so that the shelter can have proper drainage, running water, and toilet facilities.

For $15 a month, you can provide food and medicine for the cat of your choice. Torre Argentina will send you a picture and update on your feline friend and their life in Rome. To meet some of the cats... [write] Torreargentina@yahoo.com.

Additional tax deductible donations can be made in the United States through "In Defense of Animals," 131 Camino Alto, Mill Valley, CA 94941 (Be sure and write "For Torre Argentina Cats" on the front of the check)... Contributions can also be sent to Silvia Viviani, Via Marco Papio 15, 00175 Roma, Italy. Tel: 0348-384-5853 from 11 am to 7 p.m. (Roman time)."


Michelle said...

BTW, not only do some (not all, but still too many!) Italians consider dogs & cats disposible (so that, each year before their month-long summer vacations, some ditch their animals on the side of the interstate or just lock them out of the house and leave town... only to get new ones in the fall!) but on the news today they mentioned that there's now 15,000 cases a year of abandoned EXOTIC animals (iguanas, monkeys, and - yikes! - boa constructors!!)

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