Cat Sanctuary

November 26, 2007 / Local Interest
Roman cats are celebrities all over the world thanks to the attention they get from visitors at the city’s ancient monuments. People are often surprised that these cats are for the most part well cared for. What few realize is that many of the main cat colonies in Rome are in good shape thanks to the women and men of the Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary who, without any public support whatsoever, have been taking care of the famous Roman cats since the early ’90s.

The Cat Sanctuary however not only provides care for the major cat colonies in the city, but also helps the cats from less “glamorous” colonies as well. They were the first to consistently apply a trap-neuter-release style sterilization program to reduce the incidence of diseases and over-population. Thanks to volunteer veterinarians about 2800 cats are neutered a year. Add to that the 250 cats constantly cared for and fed at the sanctuary (which never closes!), about twice that many cats at the other colonies, a first-aid center, a nursery, 3 different adoption programs (foster parenting of kittens, adoption at a distance, and actual adoption), a full office and staff of volunteers to manage, websites, gift store, and the fund-raising to keep it all going . . well, you realize that it’s not just a place where cats are cared for, but an amazing testimony to the accomplishments of two women with a bucket (literally how it began).

It is located in Largo Argentina, a square in the heart of Rome with a vast archaeological area at its center that contains the ruins of four Roman temples and part of the portico of Pompey’s Theater where Julius Caesar was supposedly killed. So the next time you’re in the area watching the cats lounge among the temples, stop by for a visit (and a free archaeological tour!) to meet the people who make it possible. You will definitely be tempted to adopt (if not directly then perhaps at a distance) an adorable Roman cat of your own. For more information take a look at or in Italian


by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

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