There is a tiny beautiful seaside village in Sardinia called Su Pallosu. In fact, it is the smallest fishing hamlet in Italy: only eight people and 54 cats live there. Human beings have settled in this area since the Bronze age, the felines took up residence here almost 90 years ago, in the 1920s. They were brought by the fishermen from the nearby tuna fishery to keep mice away from houses. Although the workers’ barracks were demolished in the early 80s, the cats stayed and a few locals continued to feed them. Today Su Pallosu cat colony is one of the oldest in Italy.
Su Pallosu is a stunning unspoilt corner of western Sardinia: rocky beaches, turquoise waters, graceful flamingos and loud seagulls are rarely disturbed by tourists. In 2007 two volunteers, Andrea and Irina, decided to take care of the feline residents. They established an official cat colony, made arrangements with a nearby veterinary clinic that looks after the cats’ health, sterilised them. In all these years, the volunteers have not received any money from the state. They get by on private donations and selling some cats’ merchandise to visitors. The cats spend a lot of time on the beach by the sea, basking in the sun, playing with the waves or collecting cuddles from the visitors who come here for “cat watching”.
The colony has its Facebook page, a website, as well as each cat has a following online: the lovely black Agata, for instance, has 258 fans; fluffy grey Spettinato (“dishevelled” in Italian) – 168 friends, and Trilulilu a whopping 339! There is even a book written about Su Pallosu felines! Visits to Su Pallosu cat colony are free, although any donation would be hugely appreciated. The volunteers will also show you the local archaeological site and a small geology museum. To book a tour please email amicisupallosu(at)libero.it. For another load of cuteness watch the Su Pallosu cats playing with sea waves.
Photos by Gatti di Su Pallosu.