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Cats In Venice

Cat in Castello

Woo hoo! I created my first Slow Travel photo album which you can see here. It took me a long time to figure it all out, but it’s one of those things that will be much quicker and easier the next time I do it.

So this photo album shows all the cats I met on my December trip. There are quite a few considering that I saw none on my first couple of trips in 2002 and 2003. I went to Venice expecting to see lots of cats, mainly because I’d read Jan Morris (The World of Venice) who described Venice as one of the world’s great cat cities and painted a picture of all these loved and coddled colonies of cats being taken care of by Venetian cat ladies. In 2003, my friend Susan and I were so puzzled by the lack of felines and joked that Venice had “gone to the dogs” because we saw hundreds of astonishingly cute little lap dogs all over town but not a single cat.

Well, it turns out that Morris wrote her book in the early 1960’s right around the time that an organized campaign to get the feral cat population under control began. This work was led by an animal welfare organization called Dingo.

I’m reading a book called “Helena Sanders and the Cats of Venice,” a biography of the British woman who founded Dingo in 1964. I’m going to write more about this later when I finish the book but it’s a fascinating story. In a nutshell, the numbers are rather staggering:

"Twenty years, it took, to reduce the cats of Venice from a miserable and sickly multitude numbering 68,000 or so to a stable and healthy population of around 6,000."

The Helena Sanders bio was published in 1989 and I think that the population has decreased even more since then.

I’m happy to say that all the cats I met in 2007 looked healthy and well fed.

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Comments (5)

Ahh! Now I can explain the word Dingo to Alessandro - that we saw painted on the two dog kennels on Torcello. There were cats living in these two kennels.

It was a puzzle for us - 'cause you know, that's the word for the Australian native dog.

Hi Leslie, the book says that Dingo was the name of a stray dog that one of the Venetian women had rescued and they named the organization after him.

In the beginning, Dingo was involved with welfare for all animals but I think there's a separate dog group now and Dingo focuses on the cats.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Annie, I enjoyed your photo album. You did good for your first time. I couldn't figure it out on my own and had to ask Marta for help.:) You're so right about Venice having (what seems like) more dogs than cats. I think I only ran across about 2 or three of them at the most. I like the little cutie in the basket!

velda :

I really enjoyed your pics of cats. I wonder if I can copy a couple for my blog Whitflower Field?

Annie:

Hi Velda,

Yes you can use my photos on your blog. I'd appreciate it if you'd put a link to my blog, just so that I get credit for them.

And please send a link to your blog so I can check it out! Just so you know, I have more cat photos that I just took in December - found a couple more feral colonies in Italy and will be posting them on my blog soon.

I assume you are a cat lover too? I love them!

Thanks for visiting my blog and best wishes, Annie

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 11, 2008 2:57 PM.

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