NOTE TO READERS: The Rome 2014 trip begins with post #30. Posts #10—29 were Rome 2013. Posts 1–9 were Florence 2011. If you'd like to be notified of new postings by email, let me know at

Monday, April 1, 2013

#28—Voluesia and the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

Right in the center of Rome is the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary named for the archeological site where approximately 150 abandoned cats now live. Here they are cared for by tireless volunteers and vets who donate their time and services. Like so many groups dedicated to spay/neuter programs and helping abandoned animals, this sanctuary depends mainly on private donations.

The ruins where the cats now reign date back to the 4th century and were uncovered by chance in 1926. There are as many as four temples that were built during the time of Imperial Rome.

The ruins are home to, you may remember, Voluesia.

Spelling correction: Voluesia.
Pronounced: voh-LUTZ-ee-ah

And to George Clooney:

Quite a resemblance, don't you think? George had been confined indoors with an illness when I first met him, but was allowed to go out on one of my subsequent visits. They make very effective use of modest but impressive indoor facility located below street level at one end of the ruins.

Meet Morgan. He's been here for 10 years and loves it.

While Voluesia enjoys the passers by on one side of the sanctuary, across the way is her calico rival for public attention: Oprah Winfrey.

Not to worry, she merely enjoys careful but harmless observation.

While the sanctuary does everything possible to find homes for adoptable cats, many are feral. Like my darling Voluesia. I met Tanya, a volunteer who moved to Rome from Germany and who came rushing over when she heard I was adopting Voluesia "from a distance." Tanya rescued Voleusia and brought her to the sanctuary, fell in love with the place, and became a volunteer. Voleusia's eyes were covered with infection and injured. It was feared she'd be blind. But she's now got her one good eye, and is quite popular with passers by.

There's no language barrier when folks gather to admire and pet the cats.

I love Rome so much that I figured I needed a Rome cat...not to call my own...Voleuzia, the independent little two-year-old that she is wouldn't put up with that.

But here's what I'm thinking. It's $240 a year for "adoption from a distance." We've got a lot of cats and organizations in America that need our support. But what if I started a group, just as a kind of trans-Atlantic gesture of solidarity with animal lovers. Paws for Paisans.

Check out the Web site you see on the first picture on this post. Then would you consider donating $1.00 a year to Paws for Paisans to help me maintain my adoption for Voleusia. Maybe get $1.00 from your friends and neighbors who are animal lovers, and we could adopt another cat or just offer support in general to the sanctuary.

Please send all names of contributors so I can let the cats and their caretakers know who is helping me maintain adoption of Voleusia and offering support to the abandoned and otherwise lonely. Would you also include email addresses of contributors who would like to see the monthly report the sanctuary will send to me.

I also know my four cats, Reno, Q and A, and MO, intend to write to the cats at the sanctuary, Pen Paws, if you will. If you're interested, I will be happy to share their emails with you. They will be writing in Italian, but I will be happy to translate at no extra cost to you. They are all very charismatic writers.

As you will see on the sanctuary Web site, all cats are sterilized, fed, and cared for medically. They also get a lot of TLC. There are two indoor rooms on either side of the main room I showed you above. Here cats with medical problems are kept warm and safe and have a home for life. I told you a little about that in a previous blog post.

If you don't live near me, please send your $1.00 to Paws for Paisans: c/o Joan Cutuly, P.O. Box 156, Netarts, OR 97143. I promise you that every penny will go to the cats. I will be responsible for transfer fees as we change the dollars into euros through PayPal. I hope to get a great response, not just so we can help the cats and feel the joy of an international connection between cat lovers, but because I think the email exchanges will be a lot of fun.

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