Defending the preservation of the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

You might say that I’m a cat lover. In the last few weeks, Roman officials have affirmed the suspicions of cat lovers around the world: Archaeologists are saying that the cat sanctuary must go.

Although I’ve never visited Rome, I still had hoped to visit the sanctuary one day. Now I may never get the chance because the shelter, which has been open for more than 20 years, is under a health code violation.

The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, located in an underground area next to an archaeological site in Rome, has become a place for tourists and a home for stray cats.

The shelter is next to a site where Brutus is thought to have stabbed Julius Caesar.

The problem archaeologists are having is that the shelter brings a lot of tourists to this area of Rome, and with tourists there are messes. Visitors are throwing food into the shelter and sometimes the waste lands on the fragile ruins in an attempt to feed the cats.

This has been a recent find, and that is why archaeologists are in an uproar.  They don’t want their findings to be covered up by wrappers, food scraps and debris. I guess I would be in an uproar, too, if great discoveries were being damaged because of trash.

But the main problem is tradition verses legality. The streets of Rome have been home to cats since the time of Caesar, but the shelter, because of its popularity, has made a good idea a terrible situation.

Currently, Rome is looking to find a new home for the shelter. Without a replacement, the shelter will close entirely, forcing hundreds of cats onto the streets.

The shelter has neutered and spayed close to 29,000 cats over the past 20 years.

I strongly believe that without the shelter, Rome will see and increase in accidents and cat litter because of the amount of stray cats that are back on the busy streets. The shelter had been keeping down the spread of disease by keeping the strays healthy. It has become an ever-growing place for tourists to visit when in Italy.

With an estimated 10,000 benefactors that help pay for medicine and supplies, there is a large number of supporters looking to keep the sanctuary open.

Yet, the archaeologists do have a point. Should Rome risk the preservation of their past for a few cats?

My answer would be yes.

I am not naïve enough to think that history does not need to be preserved, but I also believe that the removal of the cat shelter would not stop the problem.

More than four million visitors come to Rome each year, and no amount of waste is going to be left behind just because Rome closes the only cat shelter within the city.

Cats can’t read the evicted signs. Out of habit, the cats will still remain in the area.

Most importantly, ban or no ban, the cats will still live in Rome and tourists will continue to feed them. The problem isn’t as simple as cat shelter or no cat shelter.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 12th, 2012 and is filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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