Rome cat sanctuary gets eviction order

The Rome cat sanctuary in the old Roman ruins of Largo Argentina may be on the move. The Italian ministry of culture says that part of it is occupying an illegal construction in an important section of the archaeological ruins.

Over the last two decades the sanctuary, which is well-loved by Italians and tourists alike, has looked after thousands of the city’s stray cats, making sure that they are fed and healthy. Most of the cats that have arrived at the sanctuary – many of which have been abandoned on the streets – have also been sterilised to prevent overpopulation among the city’s felines. The Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary also tries to find loving and suitable homes for its strays.

The mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, who it seems has a pedigree cat, has now entered the fray and is determined that the cat sanctuary, the largest in the city and well-loved worldwide, must stay.

There have also been questions in parliament about the future of the cats. The ministry says that it is not the cats that are the problem but the illegal structure within the ruins. It is occupying a part of Temple D, which is seen as one of the most important archaeological remains in the city. The site is close to where Julius Caesar is thought to have been assassinated in 44 BC.

The superintendent for archaeology in Rome, Mariarosaria Barbera, says that she has been trying to get the city to do something about the problem since the summer.