There are about 300,000 cats in Rome of which 120,000 live wild in almost 2,000 cat colonies, according to research by the Centro studi investimenti sociale Censis on wild and domestic cats living in the city. Most of the Roman cat colonies are known and are kept under observation by the local health authorities. Many of the animals are fed and medicated, if necessary, by local gattare, cat lovers who care for the cat colonies on a daily basis. In some cases there are as many as 100 animals in one area to be looked after and it is estimated that a colony of 15 cats costs 2,737 per year to maintain. To help the gattare the city council is issuing cat-cards which will give discounted prices on cat food and medicine from certain approved suppliers.
Members of the public are asked to inform their local health authority if they are aware of the formation of a new cat colony so that the animals may be looked after and sterilized if necessary.