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Cats – Rome, IT

Approximately 180,000 stray cats live in Rome, which sounds like a lot, but it’s actually nearly half of what the city’s population used to be. This is thanks to the efforts of cat welfare organizations struggling to educate people about the need for pet sterilization.

Archeological sites are actually popular places for animals to be dumped. One such site is the Torre Argentina in the centre of Rome. The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary (www.romancats.com) is home to 200 cats and adopts many cats to locals and tourists. Some cats are even flown to loving new homes in other countries by one of the sanctuary’s volunteers.

Built sometime between 18BC and 12BC, the Pyramid of Cestius was commissioned by magistrate Gaius Cestius Epulo to serve as his tomb. Unfortunately the rules changed and he never did get to put his remains there. Today, this Eqyptian-style pyramid is home to the Colonia Felina della Pyramide (hyperlink www.igattidellapiramide.it).

The association has been able to reduce the pyramid cat population from 200 down to 80 for the majority of the year, except in summer, when multiple litters of kittens are abandoned. People often dump their cats into a ditch beside the pyramid under the cover of night, leaving them for the association to deal with in the morning.

The cats living at Torre Argentina and the Pyramid of Cestius have a beautiful life, but they can only have such a life if their population is managed through spaying and neutering. Without such a change, cats not fortunate enough to find a home at the site, or be re-homed by sanctuary volunteers, will face a life of hunger and danger.

Some of the organizations featured in the "Gone Wild" are non-profits or charities needing donations to continue doing their valuable and essential work helping animals. This includes sterilization, medical care, food and finding them forever homes whenever possible. To get involved, please click on How to Help.

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