Rome Loves Cats

Photos by Beth Eisenberg The cats at Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary.

The cats at Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary.

I visited Italy for the first time about a month ago with my mom and discovered that Rome loves cats.

Really.

They’re everywhere.

Our first day in Rome we discovered the Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary. An incredible place, TA is a volunteer-run, no-kill shelter set in the ruins (as in, it’s legit the ruins) of Largo di Torre Argentina. The volunteers there care for the cats; feeding them, cleaning up and looking after them in general.

Visit the cats at Largo di Torre Argentina!

Visit the cats at Largo di Torre Argentina!

What I find especially charming about this sanctuary is the fact that these cats are exactly like you would expect cats to be. Unimpressed by the incredible, ancient ruins they laze about in, grooming themselves on the steps of one of the site’s 4 Roman Republican temples. (As a side note: The spot where Julius Caesar was assassinated is said to be in the square.) Some of the cats were abandoned, disabled or just plain feral, but cats don’t care. They’re just concerned with being cats and finding the perfect spot to lounge in the sun.

Cats brought to the sanctuary receive treatment, vaccinations, testing for FIV and FELV, and are spayed or neutered. The organization attempts to find forever homes or fosters for the cats or brings them on as permanent residents to the sanctuary.

The sanctuary really does an incredible service for the animals’ welfare and for the community at large. Cats roam the streets of Rome in abundance, but with the work of TA, that number has dropped and the health of the animals has increased dramatically. On a sad note: I saw on the website that one of the pillars of the organization, Lia, recently passed away. I hope she knew how many lives she impacted and improved during her time here.

The cats at the sanctuary are available for adoption, either to bring home or to “adopt at a distance.” And, seeing as it’s run entirely by volunteers, donations are always welcome.

So, when in Rome… be sure to visit the cats.

The ruins of Largo di Torre Argentina have been home to hundreds of cats.

The ruins of Largo di Torre Argentina have been home to hundreds of cats.

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