Reprieve: “Woe to those who lay a finger on the cats,” Declares Mayor of Rome

Torre-Argentina-Cat-Sanctuary-in-Rome-Faces-ExtinctionThere has been a cat fight between archeologists and a cat shelter that services the colony of cats in an area of crumbling ruins in central Rome called Torre Argentina. This site was a meeting place for politicians and the place that Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. Despite the area’s violent heritage, the ruins offer a peaceful reprieve from the surrounding bustle of the city. Tourists are as drawn to the cats as they are to the historical significance of the place.

Ancient inhabitants that linger to this day

It has been said that the spirit of Caesar lives on in some of the aristocratic cats that preside over the ruins. Lia Dequel, one of the Torre Argentina shelter’s founders speaks about the chemistry of the ancient ruins and the modern inhabitants: “The two together are fantastic … because monuments come alive if you see a cat lying on it, or jumping from one pillar to another.”

There has been a steady support of the cats in Rome, and they even have legal protected status. They were designated as being part of Rome’s “bio-heritage” in 2001 by the city council.

The History of Torre Argentina’s Cat Colony

The ruins of Torre Argentina were excavated in 1929. Local cats promptly moved in as if they had never left. They were cared for by “the gattare,” (the equivalent to a team of “crazy cat ladies” as they would be called here in the U.S.) Some of the gattare also included men, a famous Italian film star, and other dedicated patrons of the arts that seem to have a natural affinity for the cats.

Nineteen years ago, dedicated cat lovers sought to take a more organized approach to helping manage the colony. In recent years, that has also included implementing a Trap, Neuter, and Return program after consulting with other feral cat experts worldwide. They converted a murky cave-like storage area located under the streets in the foundations of a temple to be equipped with modern conveniences such as electricity and running water to better serve cats needing care.

A child visiting with Roman cats.

A child visiting with Roman cats.

Soon tourists from around the world began supporting their cause. Some even adopt cats and travel with them to their home countries. The Torre Argentina Cat Shelter also offers cat-related tourist gifts and adoptions from a distance to help fund their efforts. In short, the cats themselves have become a significant tourist attraction.

Some archeologists feel that the cats and the cat lover’s alterations to the underground facility are undermining the historical significance of the site: “The cat ladies are occupying one of the most important sites in Largo Argentina, and that is incompatible with the preservation of the monument,” said Fedora Filippi, an archaeologist from the Italian Culture Ministry, as cited by The New York Times. Based on this and the fact that the shelter was not sanctioned through the government, they were given an eviction notice. This was met with a swift outcry with international support for the shelter.

The Mayor Makes a Visit

After visiting the refuge on 12/4/12, mayor Gianni Alemanno said, “These cats are not up for debate, they are part of the history of Rome.”  Regarding the Torre Argentina Shelter, he exclaimed, “This is a praiseworthy, historical, wonderful enterprise. The feline colony must not be hounded out. Woe to those who lay a finger on the cats!”

The shelter currently looks after around 250 cats, providing them with food, sterilizations, vaccinations, and adoption services.

To learn more about this story visit:

The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

NPR’s article, “Cat Fight In Rome: Beloved Shelter Faces Closure.”

Featured image credit: Discovery/Deb Collins.

8 thoughts on “Reprieve: “Woe to those who lay a finger on the cats,” Declares Mayor of Rome

  1. awwwwwwwww sweet/totally awesome thing to know! I have 3 cats and have always loved cats even before i had my 3. Then again, i love all animals and i havn’t owned all animals!

  2. I saw a lot of cats in the ruins while we were in Rome and I thought it was fantastic we were standing around trying to spot all the cats playing in sleeping in the ruins. We were surprised at how healthy and non-mangy the cats looked and now I know why!

    I wish I had know about the cat shelter while we were there I would have loved to visit!

  3. The TNR CON-GAME

    FACT: Trap & Kill failed because cats cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control.

    FACT: Trap, Neuter, & Release (TNR) is an even bigger abject failure because these man-made ecological disasters cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control, they also continue to cruelly annihilate all native wildlife (from the smallest of prey up to the top predators that are starved to death), and the cats continue to spread many deadly diseases that they carry today — FOR WHICH THERE ARE NO VACCINES AGAINST THEM. Many of which are even listed as bioterrorism agents. (Such as Tularemia and The Plague — Yes, people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA. No fleas nor rats even required. The cats themselves carry and transmit the plague all on their own.)

    FACT: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY _NOTHING_ HUMANE ABOUT TNR. Nearly every last TNR’ed cat dies an inhumane death by road-kill, from cat and animal attacks, environmental poisons, starvation, dehydration, freezing to death, infections, parasites, etc. And if very very lucky humanely shot to death or re-trapped and drowned (the two most common methods employed on all farms and ranches to protect their gestating livestock’s offspring and valuable native wildlife dying from cats’ Toxoplasmosis parasites). This doesn’t begin to count the thousands of defenseless native animals that cats skin alive and disembowel alive for their daily and hourly play-toys. The only difference in destroying cats immediately and humanely instead of trapping, sterilizing, then releasing them to an inhumane death; is that money isn’t going into an HSUS or SPCA board-member’s pocket, veterinarian’s pocket, cat-food company CEO’s pocket, or a drug-company CEO’s pocket. And that’s the ONLY difference!

    FACT: Cats are a man-made (through selective breeding) invasive species. And as such, are no less of a man-made environmental disaster than any other caused by man. Cats are even worse than an oil-spill of continent-sized proportions. They not only kill off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastlines from run-off carrying cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasites, they destroy the complete food-chain in every ecosystem where cats are found. From smallest of prey gutted and skinned alive for cats’ tortured play-toys, up to the top predators that are starved to death from cats destroying their ONLY food sources. (Precisely what cats caused on my own land not long ago.)

    FACT: Hunted To Extinction (or in this case, extirpation of all outdoor cats) is the ONLY method that is faster than a species like cats can exponentially out-breed and out-adapt to. Especially a man-made invasive species like these cats that can breed 2-4X’s faster than any naturally occurring cat-species.

    FACT: In _TWELVE_YEARS_ Alley Cat ALL-LIES of NYC have only reduced feral cats in their own city by 0.08% to 0.024% (as the months go on that percentage becomes more insignificant), allowing more than 99.92% to 99.976% to exponentially breed out of control. Here’s how Alley-Cat-ALL-LIES’ deceptive math works: If you TNR 4 cats and 3 get flattened by cars this translates to 75% fewer feral-cats everywhere. Alley Cat ALL-LIES can’t even reduce cats in their own city, yet they promote it as a worldwide solution. Then even bigger fools fall for it and promote it.

    FACT: When researching over 100 of the most “successful” TNR programs worldwide, JUST ONE trapped more than 0.4%. Oregon’s 50,000 TNR’ed cats (the highest rate I found) is 4.9% of all ferals in their state. Yet, by applying population growth calculus on the unsterilized 95.1% they will have trapped only 0.35% of all cats in their state sometime this year. Less than 0.4% is a far cry from the required 80%-90% to be the least bit effective.

    FACT: Their mythical “vacuum effect” is a 100% LIE. A study done by the Texas A&M University proved that any perceived “vacuum” is just the simple case that CATS ATTRACT CATS. Get rid of them all and there’s no cats there to attract more. I proved this myself by shooting and burying hundreds of them on my own land. ZERO cats replaced them FOR 3 YEARS NOW. If you want more cats, keep even one of them around, more will find you. That university study also found that sterilized cats very poorly defend any territory. Non-sterilized cats, being more aggressive, take over the sterilized cats’ resources (shelter & food if any). If there is any kind of “vacuum effect” at all, it is that sterilizing cats cause non-sterilized cats to restore the reproductive void.

    FACT: During all this investigation I have discovered something that is unfaltering without fail. Something that you can bet your very life on and win every last time. That being — IF A TNR CAT-HOARDER IS TALKING THEN THEY ARE LYING. 100% guaranteed!

  4. Stray-Cat Feeders TRAIN Feral Cats To Attack Humans

    These cat-lovers always like to claim that feral cats run away from humans, and therefore aren’t the cause of all the thousands of new rabies cases.

    Google for: feral cat attack rabies

    Don’t be surprised at the numbers of search-hits you get, nor the thousands of horrendous stories that go with them. The numbers of rabies cases or required rabies shots caused by feral cats have been exponentially growing as fast as the cats breed.

    These cat-feeders are TRAINING these disease-infested cats to approach humans for food. And what happens when that child (or foolish adult) doesn’t have food and reaches down to “pet the cute kitty” or pick it up to try to take it home? The cat lashes out and bites or scratches the hand that has no food for them. That means MANDATORY $1000+ painful rabies shots for the child (or any adult that is just as ignorant and naive). Paid for out of their OWN pockets — because NOT ONE of these cat-feeders carries one penny of liability insurance for the DEADLY danger they bring to their communities.

    These are just the diseases they’ve been spreading to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Campylobacter Infection, Cat Scratch Disease, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Plague, Rabies, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasma. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Sarcosporidiosis, Flea-borne Typhus, and Tularemia can now also be added to that list.

    The ONLY difference between rats and cats these days is that people who own and love pet-rats aren’t severely mentally unbalanced and trying to hoard feral-rat populations on other people’s public and private properties — while also relentlessly petitioning all their lawmakers to do so.

    Pet-rat owners, and all other types of pet owners, at least have THEIR sh** together.

    If only the same were true of all these mentally-ill TNR cRat-hoarders.

    (I still think it’s their cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasites in the cat-lovers’ brains that make them so unfalteringly blind to their own stupidity, hypocrisy, and absolute absurdity.)

  5. woodsman001, WOW, just reading your messages left me breathless………………Good thing the natural reflexes just kick in. …………………….. More later, when I recover ……. I’am not laughing…

      • I guess they’re all still “breathless”. A good dose of reality after they’ve been living in a murky dreamworld of psychotic delusions for years can do that to people.

        Here’s another does of reality for you after you’ve managed to “catch your breaths” ….

        Your psychotic and delusional “No-Kill” religion (conceived of, based on, and fueled by your own relentless fear of death) is the DIRECT CAUSE of the most heinous, widespread, and longest lasting animal abuse in the history of humanity.

        There’s far worse things than death. Read it and weep if you think saving more animals’ lives is going to give them a life worth living.

        notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/07/21/how-i-failed-as-a-rescuer-lessons-from-a-sanctuary/

      • woodsman001, I’am aware of both life and death in ” the real world “, and if help came to me – no matter what life form I would be, I would accept it with grace and gratitude ……….. enough said. ….

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