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Rome and the Gattare

If you have visited Rome, at least once, perhaps you notice the important role that cats play in the Roman society. That is why the Gattare (cat ladies) are essential to maintain equilibrium in the streets of the capital of Italy. Although there are men doing this work, the name of this job has a feminine connotation due to the high number of female voluntaries. Gattare’s most symbolic place of action is located at Largo Argentina, specifically at the archeological zone of the sacral area, which is ideal for cats to take refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. This is also a place full of history, where Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar. Located in the heart of the city, Largo Argentina hosts many cats that actually seem to be happy. Those who love animals can perfectly distinguish when an animal suffers a lack of food or love.


A day in the life of a Gattare begins at 8 am in Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, where they have to clean and disinfect cages, as well as litter boxes of cats that are under special care, because they just had surgery.

At 11 a.m starts the food distribution. The Gattare should perfectly know which animals have specific dietary requirements.

From midday hordes of tourists arrive.

During the Afternoon there is a medical treatment session, as well as a second round of feeding and cleaning.

Lia and Silvia are the creators of this interesting place, which was conceived in 1994 with the idea of offering shelter to over 100 abandoned cats that hided among the ruins. After hard work, Lia and Silvia were able to open this cat shelter house, which is financed mainly with the support of visitors.

The Gattare have become so famous that now their name has its own definition in Wiktionaryinglese and they have even appeared in the Simpsons.

The Gattare obviously love their work. They love cats so much that literally will do whatever it takes to improve the living conditions of their pets.

There are some articles written about the aesthetics of these women and how the real Gattare wear their clothes, but we prefer to speak only about their role as a animal helpers rather than as a way to stand out in society.

We prefer to think of the good intentions of these people motivated by their passion for animals, that in the superficial aesthetic that are, sadly, so prevalent in our society.

The Gattare are also well regarded by the Romans and tourists, because apart from the work they do, they have made cats a symbol of the city, and without them we wouldn’t have the i Gatti Rome and its famous calendars that are published every year.