Monday, November 05, 2012

Cat sanctuary at Roman site could be clawed away

English: Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome. Tem...
English: Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome. 
BEWARE THE Ides of March … and the cat pee. The Ides of March, of course, refers to March 15th, 44BC, the day when Gaius Julius Caesar met a distinctly sticky end in downtown Ancient Rome. Shakespeare would have us believe that Brutus and his fellow senators hacked Caesar to death in or close to the ancient Roman senate in the Forum.

Most modern historians accept, however, that he was chopped down close to Pompey’s theatre in the very centre of what is now the Largo di Torre Argentina, a busy square more than a kilometre away from the Forum.

Today it serves as both a bus and tram terminal and as a home to 250 of Rome’s estimated 300,000 feral or wild cats. And therein lies the problem.

The thing is that for longer than anyone knows, cats have chosen to “hang out” at Torre Argentina, a below-ground-level site on the Campus Martius where not only Pompey’s theatre but also three temples once stood.