When I was thinking about what I should be writing about for today’s blog, the one theme I decided I would stay away from was ancient Rome. So even though I’m beginning my post with the words “Researchers believe that Julius Caesar..” you’ll just have to take my word that this is not really a post about Julius Caesar or even about research. With that out of the way, I can begin my post in earnest.
Researchers believe that Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 B.C. in the area where the archaeological area of the Largo di Torre Argentina stands today. However, more than being famous as the site of the most famous assassination in the history of mankind ever (until more recent events in the 20th Century), the Torre Argentina area is famous as the location of a cat sanctuary. Something about the spirit of dead Julius Caesar and cats, I suppose.
Anyway, despite its fame, I hadn’t known about the existence of this sanctuary until shortly before my most recent visit (which just goes a long way to prove the length and breadth of my knowledge). But once I found out, I had to go. So during my most recent visit to the Eternal city, the first stop after checking into my room (which happened to be right opposite the Largo Argentina) was the cat sanctuary.
The sanctuary is located at the archaeological level (and not the street level) so you have to take a flight of stairs to get down to it. The stairs are located where the Via di Torre Argentina meets the Via delle Botteghe Oscure.
Once downstairs I was immediately met by at least three cats, all of whom moved away as soon as they saw me. To my right was the shelter, divided into a few rooms each with cats. Some cats in cages (injured cats, cats recovering from illnesses/ surgeries) and other cats outside. A short time later, a volunteer walked up to me to explain all that the shelter was doing to cats. The primary focus of the shelter is to neuter/ spay cats. Also to treat cats that are ill or injured and to take care of abandoned kitties.
You can spend time at the shelter observing the cats or you can even pet the friendly ones. As in all cat cafes the primary rule is that you don’t disturb a sleeping cat.
It never struck me to ask how many cats were actually at the shelter. I’m guessing that there must have at least been a hundred. And out of those some of them were roaming freely in the archaeological area. Some cats with disabilities were in a further protected room.
The shelter seems to be doing a yeoman’s work in rescuing and taking after these cats. After all, like any other place people also tend to dump cats and kittens at Torre di Argentina because they know the cats will somehow be taken care of. Of course not many of them realise how hard it is to actually run a shelter. It often takes the effort of many volunteers and donors to keep any rescue shelter running. So my deepest gratitude and appreciation for the folks at the Torre Argentina sanctuary for their hard work since 1993.
The shelter does adoptions of course but they also do distance adoptions where you can donate money on their website to sponsor to be a cat mom or a cat dad remotely. It costs 15 Euros per month and they send you a photograph of your kitty and regular status updates by email. I couldn’t choose a cat to adopt so the lady at the shelter chose a cat called “Obelix” for me.
If you love cats, you can help by donating to them. You don’t have to visit Rome to do it. They have a website which accepts credit card and Paypal payments. Maybe you can even sponsor the cat on the website banner that says one of its ancestors met Julius Caesar. Who knew!
For more info: https://www.gattidiroma.net/web/en/