Gatti Della Piramide The Pyramid Cats of Rome
When an old lady started caring for the stray cats around the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, she began a tradition that continues today.
On the south end of Rome there stands a pyramid made of cement, thirty meters long by 36 meters high. Adjacent to the pyramid, which the Romans spell Piramide, rests the Protestant Cemetery. Many famous Italians and non-Italians are buried here, and the neighboring pyramid is also a funerary monument, of Caio Cestio. It was constructed between 18-12 B.C. and is the last surviving pyramid in the city, where it's estimated there once were two or three more.
Above all the bodies beneath the ground there exists a colony living upstairs - a colony of cats that have made the Pyramid region their home. It's unknown when cats began to congregate at and around the cemetery but dating as far back as 1984, a nameless old lady dedicated her time and efforts to become the felines' caretaker, or shall we say cat-taker?
She was supplying the area's cats food and water. But when she broke her leg another lady by the name of Matilde filled in as the kittie's landlady.
Most of the cats at that time were in pathetic shape. They were underfed, diseased, and many of them were blind. Matilde decided that the job was too big for one person and sought out other volunteers to assist her. She gained access to the Pyramid archaeological area and began erecting wooded boxes to use as shelt for the cats.
She paid for the sterilization of most of the cats so they wouldn't breed uncontrollably. She did this all amongst a backdrop of interference from those who opposed her helping the defenseless felines. Over the course of many years, officials in Rome eventually grew sympathetic to her cause and other volunteers have helped make the Pyramid cat colony a success.
Running water was made available, drains were installed so cats no longer drowned during the torrential rains and brickwork shelters were built, providing the cats shelter from the rain and cold. Other people and areas began helping in Matilde's efforts.
The Villa Andreina gave food, medical treatment, and housing for the animals for a year. And today the AISPA (Angle-Italian Society for the Protection of Animals) offers a huge variety of services for the Pyramid cats. They've donated cages for those unable to survive outdoors. They've given kennels, medicines, vaccines, and pesticides. They have even donated a vehicle so volunteers can wheel a cat in need of medical care to the vet.
The story of the Pyramid cats is one of benevolence from human to animal. Had the original nameless old lady never started caring for the cats around the cemetery, the colony would be in even direr straits today. But good hearted Romans found it in their hearts to aid felines for the good of the colony.
Today the Pyramid Cats have their own website where their story can reach the world. Not only are they properly cared for but they can also be adopted from afar. They even have their own facebook page. The cats of Rome have never had it so good!