Largo di Torre Argentina: A Most Special Shelter in the Heart of Rome

I don’t have the best memories of my time in shelters. Chalk it up to being left at one during a flood, and then having to fly across the country on a plane. That wasn’t fun. But there are great shelters out there who care for cats no matter what. And then there’s one operating in ancient ruins in the heart of Rome. Wait, what?

Ruins in the center of the city

Meet Largo di Torre Argentina (no relation to the country), a cat shelter situated not only in Rome, but amidst the ruins of four temples, on the spot where someone named Caesar was killed. I’m told he was a human of some importance. This wonderful place (for cats more so than dictators) was brought to my attention by friends of the blog who traveled there and allowed me to use the pictures accompanying these words. So how does one set up a shelter in such a place?

The ruins were uncovered early in the twentieth century. After much arguing, which is to say two decades of back-and-forth, archaeologists were finally allowed to care for the area. That’s also when cats started to move in, because we like safe places to hide, to say nothing of large playgrounds filled with stone structures perfect for epic obstacle courses. Think Assassin’s Creed for cats.

Biscuit hiding in a box while Butterscotch watches helplessly
I know a cat who would love to visit a shelter, if you know what I mean

Until the nineties, these felines were fed by cat ladies, or gattare, the best humanity has to offer. They had no organization and no support, only the desire to care for kitties on hard times. In 1993, one such woman gave so much of herself she was “on the verge of economic and emotional collapse.” Enter Lia and Silvia, who decided to help this poor lady, and that was basically the birth of the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary (source: the sanctuary’s website).

The Mr. Biscuit Blog is not the first website to report on this unique organization. It has garnered international fame through Internet and tourism, but with hundreds of feline residents, it needs all of the help it can get. Consider making a contribution or “adopting” a kitty at a distance. Every cat is admitted as a permanent resident, save for the unlucky infected with the feline leukemia virus, which could be spread to others.

How many cats can you find?

Also consider donating to a local no-kill shelter. Do I really have to stress the importance of the no-kill qualifier? As far as I know, humans are never “put to sleep” because no one wants to adopt them. So support those who do the right thing; it’s not easy, but it’s the only humane thing to do. And if the Torre Argentina shelter is made all the more special by its unique location and setting, it can also be counted among the good ones.

Whew. That was exhausting. Come back next week for a hopefully lighter topic, and thanks again for our friends and their great pictures. Don’t be afraid to follow me on Instagram and Twitter to keep the cute factor going all week.

I want to go play in stone ruins too

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