The cat colonies

Cats protected and cared for

Many think that stray cats are semi-wild animals, in many cases dirty and sick, that rummage through waste in search of food scraps to feed on; that they are unattended and somewhat at the mercy of events, with no one to assist them or take care of them.

Nothing further from reality. In Milan there are approximately 1.400 cat colonies. They are made up of groups of more or less numerous cats, scattered throughout the city areas and looked after by well-organised volunteers who assist them tirelessly.

Protected by national, regional and municipal regulations, Cats today have the status of protected animals in all respects with the right to assistance and treatment by the Veterinary ASL. They are guaranteed the possibility of transiting and staying where they prefer: no one can claim the right to move a cat from the place where it has always lived, be it a public or private space, nor can they prevent it from being fed or cared for if it does not want to. run the risk of committing a crime: mistreatment or killing of stray cats is real criminal offenses also punishable by prison.

Whatever the reason that pushes a person not to want cats near their condominium or shop or land, know that colony cats should never be moved from their original habitat unless the fact is necessary for their protection or for serious health reasons.

Regional Law 33/2009, Fight against stray animals and protection of pets, art. 111

The volunteers, tireless people, with hearts full of love for these creatures, are capable of incredible sacrifices and sacrifices in order to ensure that their colonies do not lack food and assistance.

They come together thanks to silent tom-toms, they always know when there is a colony in difficulty, they intervene promptly and personally when a cat is in danger, when a puppy is not able to look after itself, when one of their protégés shows symptoms of wasting or illness.

And what about holidays, rest, vacations? For almost all of them they are just a distant memory... Cats await them 365 days a year, with their intense eyes and straight tails. How can they relax anywhere else if they know that those cute little faces are waiting for them in vain?

There is a lot of clichés about cats: "the cat is a carrier of diseases", "the stray cat is dirty", "I am allergic to cats", not to mention the manifest antipathy which has led and sometimes still leads to authentic persecutions in comparisons of black cats.

The cat is by nature extremely clean (those who have cats at home know how much time of the day they spend polishing their fur!) and it is the conditions of the environment in which they live or the presence of diseases that sometimes give them that 'sloppy appearance that annoys some.

This is why it is so important to facilitate and not hinder the work of volunteers who, at their own expense, monitor, clean, feed and take care of the cat colonies, preventing the spread of diseases and giving the colony cats a shining appearance that often not even the most pampered house cat can have.

We also remember that the very few cat diseases that can be transmitted to humans (including the infamous toxoplasmosis) are very difficult to contract, as they require direct contact between the feces of the infected cat and our mouth and therefore basic hygiene rules are sufficient. to avoid this danger. Let's not forget that we run much greater risks when we eat semi-raw meat or poorly cleaned vegetables.

However, it is appropriate to underline the fact that, whatever the reason that pushes a person not to want cats near their condominium or shop or land, current legislation provides that colony cats can never move from their original habitat to unless the fact is necessary for their protection or for serious health reasons. And let's not forget that the cat, even if well fed, keeps mice away!

The law on "Fight against strays and protection of pets", to avoid an indiscriminate and uncontrollable growth of cat populations, provides for the possibility of capturing free cats in order to sterilize them and subsequently release them in the territory of origin. For this reason, in recent years the Animal Protection Office of Milan has stipulated some agreements with animal protection associations which provide for the capture, sterilization, hospitalization and subsequent release of colony cats. All of this, obviously, does not involve the disbursement of any expense by those who look after the colony. The agreements currently in place are those with Mondo Gatto, Mondo Gatto San Donato, Associazione Tutor Animali and Animal's Emergency.
Food distribution
Another great effort that the Municipality is making to alleviate the efforts and expenses of the volunteers is to distribute food for the colony cats periodically and in turns to those who request it. To date, dozens of quintals of cat food have been made available to citizens.

Living together
Many condominium problems, or in any case linked to a difficult coexistence between man and animal, have been resolved thanks to the direct intervention of the Associations affiliated with the Animal Protection Office or of the Zoofile Guards of the OIPA, the International Animal Protection Organization, whose nucleus was established in 2008 by the Municipality precisely to resolve these problems by ensuring compliance with current legislation on animal protection.

Milan is a city that is constantly changing. Suddenly new construction sites open up in the streets which change, often completely, the face of entire streets or neighbourhoods. For the cats, accustomed to passing through certain areas of Milan for years, these are traumatic events, sometimes fortunately short-lived, as they have to change consolidated habits. The Animal Protection Office is often asked to have all the cats belonging to the colony taken away (to a cattery or other protected area). All this is not possible (except in exceptionally serious cases) as the Milan cattery can only accommodate owned cats given up by their owners for serious reasons (and not capable of surviving in freedom), and the volunteers who follow other city colonies they cannot take on the burden of entire new colonies. Furthermore, the cat is a territorial animal and would tend to return (with great danger to its life) to the places where it has always lived. In the event of the opening of a new construction site, therefore, the Animal Protection Office sends personnel from the Associations affiliated with the Municipality, who contact the Works Managers in order to identify the best solution that allows the continuation of the construction works and the maintenance of the welfare conditions of the cats present.

A volunteer who notices the presence of a cat colony in Milan and decides to take care of it must first contact the ATS Veterinaria in his area, which will register it following an inspection by one of its operators.

The ATS Veterinaria will always sterilize (and now also microchip) the cats present and treat those that show symptoms of illness. Once healed, the cats will be released back into their territory of origin by the colony's volunteer representative. All these operations do not involve any cost for the volunteers.

By contacting the Animal Protection Office, you will be able to have, again without additional charges, assistance and collaboration in the capture and hospitalization of cats to be sterilized.

We remind you that current legislation provides that the volunteer has the right to manage and therefore feed and take care of the colony cats, but also the duty to maintain the places concerned in optimal hygienic conditions.

Telephone 02 884.60043 / 54357

Email: M.

Via Sile, 8 - 3rd floor - Milan - by appointment


Updated: 12/02/2024