This is a cat story where semi-feral cats have become an asset to the community. This is the opposite to what usually happens. It is a story which tells us that semi-domesticated feral cats can be an asset, they can be valued by the community and therefore they should be treated well.
In this instance there’s a cat colony on and by a beach at Su Pallosu, Sardinia. They can be seen on the sandy beaches and play in the water and visitors are free to play with them, mess around with them and enjoy their company. As I said, they have become an attraction to such an extent that they have been awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. The attraction is ranked seventh in the travel review site astonishingly.
The cats have lived there for over a century. There are around 60 cats. They arrived at the area when fishermen on the island introduced them in order to keep the rat problem down. They are cared for by a not-for-profit organisation called I Gatti di Su Pallosu. The second video below shows cat houses and such like provided by I Gatti di Su Pallosu.
It seems that I Gatti di Su Pallosu organise guided tours of their feline colony in order to promote tourism in the area. Thousands of visitors have visited the beach and environs just to see the cats, interact and photograph them.
The tours are popular and free but it is recommended that you book a week in advance. The organisation is careful to point out that people are not allowed to abandon their cats in the area because they do not want the colony to expand in size or indeed to attract the attention of people who wish to abandon their cats.
A spokesperson very positively said:
“People love cats and they love beaches to, so it’s recipe for success.”
She makes the point that as the cats have lived on the seashore all their lives they have no fear of the sea and like to play in and around it. They are also tame and very friendly and know how to entertain visitors.
I think this cat story is quite important because it shows that under the right circumstances people like to see stray and feral cats. They like to engage with them. They are amusing and entertaining. They add an extra dimension to a holiday. They are an asset to the area and the economy therefore they should be treasured which they appear to be.
It does remind me of Greece, in fact, where the tourist trade is boosted by the presence of stray cats against the whitewashed houses set in charming villages on hillsides. One problem in Greece is that once the cats have earned their keep and boosted the economy they are often poisoned in the off-season. This is callously commercialising feral cats and not the same thing as happens on this beach in Sardinia.
Note: Sardinia is between France and Italy in the Mediterranean and is an autonomous region of Italy.
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