Cat Capital of the World

May 3, 2010 / Local Interest
Rome, Lazio

The number of ruins dating back to antiquity amazes most visitors to Rome, but many others also comment on the unusual amount of wild cats prowling those same historical sites.

One explanation could be Italy’s progressive laws concerning wild animals that forbid the use of euthanasia.

This spawned many cat sanctuaries (most notably the one at Torre Argentina), that feed, vaccinate and shelter abandoned felines.
Friends of Roman Cats (FORC) is an organization founded on behalf of these harmless creatures and is “guided by the desire to help homeless cats through international cooperation and educational opportunities.”

For those interested in a cat themed Italian experience, FORC has offered a 12-day tour in the past that combines Italian cultural gems with some interesting cat sites in the bel paese.

For more information on FORC and the Cat Tour, visit 


Ian Zurzolo

by Ian Zurzolo

Writer, editor, American University of Rome graduate, Italian Notebook Editorial Intern.

7 Responses to “Cat Capital of the World”

  1. Janet Grasso

    I too love the cats in Rome but BEWARE. I pet a kitten in the Forum and soon came down with viral meningitis. After spinal taps and 7 days in the hospital I was sent home and told to ‘lay low’ for a few weeks.

    Please don’t touch the stray cats.

  2. davi mondt lowman

    since i am a cat lover, this project just warms my heart. when in rome, i stay in this area so i get to “visit” with these precious felines. hooray for FORC!

  3. I always check out the cats when I’m in Rome. It’s great to know that an organization such as FORC can do something like this for the cats.

  4. Peggy Corrao

    To add to this, I was told many years ago that the cats were used for food during the War, and they are now revered and fed sumptuous meals of pasta, etc. and protected as a profound thank you by those who still remember!

  5. Friends of Roman Cats will be leading our 4th Cats and Culture tour this Oct. Besides meeting many Roman Cats and their terific caretakers, we will visit cats in Venice (in the largest hospital), Florence ( in a magnificent Renaissance garden), the Tuscan countyside, Arezzo and Siena. We will also visit some great hstorical and cultural sites. For more information go to the FORC website: You can download the whle brochure.




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