Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary in Rome Faces Extinction

About 150-180 cats are sheltered in ruins dating from over 20 centuries ago

A cat shelter, found in an underground location among Roman ruins near the Area Sacra of Largo Argentina, causes strong dissensions between Italian archaeologists and animal lovers. 

While most of the tourists are saying that cats give the ruins a whiff of live, archaeologists declare cats have nothing to do with history.

“The cat ladies are occupying one of the most important sites in Largo Argentina, and that is incompatible with the preservation of the monument,” said Fedora Filippi, an archaeologist from the Italian Culture Ministry, as cited by The New York Times.

In response to the eviction notice, Roman cat caretakers declared they would fight for the animals' lives.

“If they want war, we’ll give them war. The cats need us,” said Silvia Viviani, one of the creators of the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary.

The cat sanctuary, established under ancient Roman ruins dating before Julius Caesar's era and now sheltering about 150-180 cats, sparkled heated debates when Rome’s mayor, Gianni Alemanno, declared “anyone who touches them will be in trouble.”

For some a sacrilege, for others generosity, the cat community is currently making history in Rome.

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