The Quirky Cat Sanctuary of Rome

The quirky cat sanctuary of Rome

Most people who know me will know that I’m an aspiring Crazy Cat Lady – hey even my Secret Santa gift at the office Christmas party was a crazy cat lady mug! So when I heard about the quirky cat sanctuary of Rome, I knew I had to pay a visit.

Cute cat

Just 5 minutes walk away from the Pantheon is the Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary, home to around 150 cats who live in the ancient ruins. The ruins themselves are amongst the oldest in Rome (400-300BC) and are thought to be the place in which Julius Caesar was assassinated. As for the cats, they are free to wander the ruins and are very well cared for by a team of volunteers.

These Roman ruins are home to a cat sanctuary, believe it or not!

Visitors are welcome to visit from noon every day but you can’t just wander around the ruins, you can view from the street above or if you walk down the steps on the corner of Via Florida and Via di Torre Argentina you can visit the little gift shop they have down there.

Cats being cats

As well as the gift shop, there is also an indoor section of the sanctuary. This is mostly for cats that need to be indoors for health reasons, but of course other cats wander in and out of the shop part because cats pretty much do what they want don’t they?

Cat shop at Roman Cat Sanctuary

The friendly volunteer who was minding the sanctuary on the day I visited showed me and my mum into the part of the indoor bit of the sanctuary that was locked (presumably to stop cats who didn’t need to be in there getting in there). I petted a random cat who was perched on a scratching post and then he/she climbed onto me and made me have cuddles!!! It was so cute. But sadly, all good things must come to an end but the cat was having none of it.

Visiting the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary in Rome

Eventually I did break free but I did feel guilty for cutting short our cuddles. However I did buy a calendar from the shop as the money goes straight back in to feeding and caring for the cats.

Torre Argentina is a wonderful place for a short visit and I would definitely recommend it to all animal lovers! For more information take a look at the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary website.

The quirky cat sanctuary of Rome

For more feline inspired blog posts take a look at my photos of cats around the world or read about that time I visited a cat cafe in Tokyo.

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The quirky cat sanctuary of Rome - something not to be missed for all those crazy cat folk out there!

Life lately… Summer edition!

I can’t believe we’re over halfway through the year already! It’s also that time of year where I feel like throwing in the towel on this blog, I’ve done it once already and oddly enough I said the same thing last July, but I think all that’s needed sometimes is a bit of sunshine, a dose of the real world and a something of a digital detox to get the blogging mojo back.

Speaking of digital detox, I got some of that when I visited Cuba back in May. Cuba nicely fitted itself in as the letter ‘C’ for the alphabet dating that hubby and I have been doing each month. I also wrote a post for how to spend 24 hours in Havana so if you’re thinking of visiting Cuba “before it all changes” then check it out!

Posing in a 1952 pink Chevrolet at Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba
I’m a Barbie Girl in a Barbie World

I have also been making friends with lots of animals. My sister in law bought herself, me and hubby a ‘Meet the Meerkat’ experience which we did back in May, along with her boyfriend. It was cute and fun although I suspect the meerkats had a soft spot for the guys rather than us girls. Boo.

But I did manage to get this less than flattering selfie.

Meerkat selfie at Hoppers Animal World
meerkat selfie!

I’m the sort of kid who has a new favourite animal every week, so I’ve been to a few different zoos and wildlife parks over the past 3 months and I’m fortunate that I live relatively close to some really great ones here in the South East that do alot for conservation and wildlife charities. If you follow me on instagram you may have spied a few animal pics in between all the blue skies and black cats.

Tiger at Howletts Zoo, Kent

A group of lemurs at Wingham Wildlife Park in Kent

A yellow headed day gecko at Bristol Zoo

I was also lucky enough to win tickets to one of the Wildlife Heritage Foundation open days this year – so thanks to Sam over at Yoko Meshi for the prize!

WHF is a big cat sanctuary which has the mission statement “To be recognised and respected as being a centre of excellence for endangered big cats”. It was a nice day out in the sunshine, although alot busier than I expected! I would love to go back and stay in one of the lodges they have there but they’re sooooo expensive!

Handsome white lion at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent

The WHF also offer photography courses which I might have to look into. I’m kicking myself that I forgot to take my SLR camera along with me, although alot of the cats were hiding away sheltering from the heat.

It’s actually been pretty hot here in England lately and anyone who knows what the typical British summer is like will know that if the sun is shining then you make the most of it! So for my hubby’s birthday back in June we took a trip down to the coast and got ourselves a sweet little Travelzoo deal at a boutique hotel (or rather a restaurant with rooms as they call themselves), The Marquis at Alkham. I didn’t actually realise it at the time but Conde Nast Traveller even named it as one of their best restaurants in Kent!

I must admit having somewhat of a past with social anxiety, I’m much more comfortable in my local Nandos than fine dining establishments, so although the whole dining experience was total instagram food-porn I didn’t actually take any pictures of it as I really didn’t want to be that person. Plus it’s quite nice to not obsess over posting things on social media and just enjoy the moment – something I think we’re all starting to lose touch with.

I did, however, take a photo of our room’s ‘guard dog’. You just pop the cuddly toy outside the door to your room if you don’t wish to be disturbed by housekeeping – a cute and quirky take on the traditional ‘Do not disturb’ signs that you hang on the door!

Our hotel room 'guard dog'

Even stuffed animals can’t escape my mobile/camera lens!

Oh and hey, in other news, turns out my cat is better at twitter than me!

Happy Caturday!

Also, there has also been some more alphabet dating antics but as I’ve rambled on enough for one post I will save that for another time!

Oh and I promise when the weather turns crap again to start posting more!

Peace, Love and Sunshine!

Peace, Love and Sunshine!

All images © me. Last image via unsplash.

Cats around the world

Today is Good Deeds Day and as you know, my good deed for 2016 is my volunteer work at my local cat rescue centre. It’s only cleaning pens, monitoring and socialising the cats for a couple of hours a week but I like to think it makes a small difference to the cats’ well being and also helps the awesome, hardworking staff out a bit too.

So as a bit of a tenuous link I thought I would post some photos of cats around the world that I have met…

Tabby cat asleep on a green chair in Lanzarote, Spain

This kitty cat was sleeping on the bizarre green chair outside the shop at the Monumento al Campesino (farmers monument) on the Spanish island of Lanzarote. I was drawn to him/her because this sweetie looks alot like the cat I had growing up.

3 little kitties outside the Bahia Palace in Marrakech, Morocco

This adorable trio were among several other cats hanging around outside the Bahia Palace in Marrakech, Morocco. I just wanted to bundle them all up and take them home with me because I felt sorry for them, I just hope someone at the palace is looking after them!

Grey and white cat in Morocco

Special mention to this cat who I met en route to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The guides wanted us tourists to stop and buy pottery and trinkets from the shop but I was more interested in making friends with this cutie.

Cat hiding in a box at a Cat Cafe in Tokyo, Japan

This pretty kitty was one of the pampered felines at the Cat Cafe I visited in Tokyo, Japan. There were lots of lovely cats there but I chose to feature this one here as it was the only cat who sat on my lap and took treats from me, the rest were too busy snoozing!

Cat poking its tongue out while sleeping at a Cat Cafe in Tokyo

Although shout out to this cheeky kitty, who although slept the entire time we were at the Cat Cafe, looked so adorable poking its tongue out!

Pickles the Hobbiton cat lives at The Green Dragon Inn at The Hobbiton movie set in New Zealand

This beauty is Pickles the Hobbiton cat. After a rough start in life, Pickles soon found a wonderful new home – at The Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. We went to get a drink in The Green Dragon Inn after our tour of the set and found Pickles curled up on a chair infront of the fireplace. It was a hot day so I really didn’t need to sit infront of a blazing fire, but the lure of petting a snoozing kitty was just too much to resist!

Cat sitting on a giant chess board in Alice Springs, Australia

This sweet creature was one of the resident cats at the hostel we stayed at in Alice Springs, Australia. I think the owner said her name is Tink and she’s an impressive 21 years old! We didn’t see much of the other (much younger cat) at the hostel as she was out exploring but Tink could often be found chilling out in the kitchen or garden.

Black cat sitting on decking in Fiji

This fur baby was probably my favourite. Her name is Friday and she lives on Robinson Crusoe Island in Fiji. We found her chilling on the decking outside our bure one morning and she kept on coming back for a fuss. We more or less made her our island cat and she even came to say goodbye to us when we left.

This purrfect post is dedicated to all the Crazy Cat Ladies and Gentlemen out there x

My visit to a cute and cosy cat cafe in Tokyo

Cat Cafe Nekorobi Ikebukuro

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So I ticked maid café off of my Japan wishlist, but one of the other cafes I really wanted to visit was a cat café. When I stayed in Tokyo for 3 nights several years ago, I came close to visiting one but didn’t (I don’t know why) so I made sure that this time round it was one of the first things I did!

And sure enough, our first full day in Tokyo we spent wandering around Ikebukuro in the pouring rain. I’d done a little online research and found out about a cat café I quite liked the sound of so we headed to Ikebukuro mainly for that reason (although I do enjoy Tokyu Hands!).

NOTHING is easy to find in Tokyo. We walked around in circles a few times and just when we thought all hope was lost, we saw it – Cat Café Nekorobi!

cat-cafe-1

It was quite strange climbing the stairs, it felt a little like we were intruding on someone’s apartment building but sure enough we found the entrance to the café. We had to leave our umbrellas and shoes at the door but once we were inside it was so toasty and warm, and lovely to see the friendly smiling face of one of the staff members, a young girl who spoke very good English. She instructed us to hang our coats up and place our belongings in a locker. We were also required to wash our hands before interacting with the cats.

Cat cafes, similar to maid cafes, charge per the hour. Each cat café operates differently, at this particular one you pay a set price 1,100 yen for the first hour (1,300 on weekends/holidays) and then 250 yen (300y weekends/holidays) for every 15 minutes afterwards. Included in that price you can help yourself to snacks from the basket on the table and drinks from the vending machine. We were also given a small bag of cat treats each to encourage the cats to interact with us.

cat-cafe-japan-2

The concept of cat cafes is to give those who cannot have pets in their own homes, for reasons such as housing restrictions etc, what I like to call – a cuddly wuddly fix. Although you aren’t allowed to pick the cats up yourself, you must let them come to you.

I tell you what though – in my next life I am coming back as one of these cats! They were sprawled out snoozing all over the beanbags while us mere humans were made to crawl all over the floor!

cat-cafe-japan-3

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I really enjoyed the cat café and because it was so cosy in there away from the horrible weather outside, I could have easily stayed for much longer than an hour.

Know before you go

  • Don’t be disappointed if the cats aren’t very playful. In a room full of cats and with a handful of biscuits, there was only one cat remotely interested in socialising with me and climbing onto my lap. The rest were sleeping or had climbed up high to observe their kingdom below. The sleeping cats are fine to stroke though.
  • If they have a guestbook or a little book with cat biographies in it, don’t forget to have a look. It’s a nice little touch.
  • Cat Café Nekorobi also had a laptop and games console and stuff like that, so if cats aren’t your thing and you’re dragged here against your will by a crazy cat lady or something, there is still stuff other than cats to look at.
  • There are many cat cafes dotted around Tokyo, but if you want to visit this particular one then head for Tokyu Hands in Ikebukuru and follow the building around. It’s kind of behind the department store (although there is one inside the store as well).

cat-poking-its-tongue-out-by-quirkylittleplanet

If you enjoyed this then you might fancy reading about visiting a rabbit cafe in Tokyo.

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Cat Cafe Nekorobi Ikebukuro - cute and cosy cat cafe in Tokyo

National Black Cat Day

I learnt something new today. October 30th is National Black Cat Day.

Now there seems to be a National Day Of Something-Or-Other every day – everything from awareness days for serious causes to random stuff like Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19 if yar be interested, arr!) and I don’t normally pay too much attention to these sorts of things BUT I adopted a black cat this year so now National Black Cat Day is something that speaks to me.

Why do black cats get their own special day?

Because they are the least adopted colour of cat, generally because of superstition because people believe them to be unlucky, but also because in this vanity and selfie-obsessed society, they are deemed to be “less photogenic”. Black cats are the last ones to be adopted because people favour other coloured cats and according to Cats Protection, black cats make up almost a quarter of all cats in Cats Protection care.

It does puzzle me that this national day is the day before Halloween, when I’m pretty sure that some animal shelters halt black cat adoptions during October to prevent people just adopting them for ‘Halloween props’, I’m guessing that’s why there is also a Black Cat Appreciation Day in August too!?

Let me tell you a few things about black cats-

1. They are NOT unlucky
2. They are NOT Halloween props
3. Ok so they might be a little more tricky to photograph but they are stunning creatures all the same

We adopted our 2 year old cat Rodney from our local Cats Protection centre and he is a proper little character. He is a very chatty cat, enjoys his food, enjoys our food (he stole a jacket potato skin from my plate the other day!), he looks smart in red and his favourite tv show is You’ve Been Framed!

How can you not love that face?!

If you have space in your house and your heart, why not consider adopting a black cat? Or alternatively, donate to the Cats Protection.

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