2018 Michelle here: I love, love, love kitty cats. I love cat cafes and attractions that feature cats. The cat sanctuary in Rome was my first experience with a ‘cat attraction. While I don’t know the feline situation in Rwanda, I’m hoping to see the big cats while abroad, perhaps while on vacation in Tanzania?
There are two kinds of people in the world: cat people and dog people. And cat people are way more interesting than dog people. And if you can’t tell by that statement, I am a cat person. Big cats. Little cats. Basically if you are in the feline family, I love you. And Rome is a cat’s paradise. Hundreds of cats haunt the place where Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 BC.
Known as Largo di Torre Argentina, this archaeological wonder was excavated as part of Mussolini’s rebuilding efforts in 1929, revealing extensive multi-level temples that lie sunken 20 feet below modern street level. Besides several different temples, Torre Argentina also contains part of the famous Theater of Pompey, upon whose steps dictator Julius Caesar was betrayed and killed. Today, volunteers at Torre Argentina care for approximately 250 cats. After the site was excavated, Rome’s feral cats moved in immediately, as they do all over the city, and the gattare, or cat ladies, began feeding and caring for them. Since the mid-1990s, the population has grown from about 90 to the current 250, and the organization has ramped up with care for sick or wounded cats, as well as an extensive spay and neuter program to keep the feral population in check. Most of the permanent residents have special needs – they are blind or missing legs or came from abusive homes.
On any given afternoon a small crowd gathers here to watch the cats sunbathe on ancient pillars and steps. At first it may be hard to spot the cats, but once you start to see them, they are everywhere.
Also, in my next life, I plan to come back as either a pampered house cat like Lucy or Molly, or if I can’t get that gig, I would like to be one of Rome’s pampered felines–I mean lounging around ancient architecture having someone to come feed me every day– what’s not to love about that?