The controversy swells in Croatia. For several days, the inhabitants of the city of Dubrovnik have been torn over the fate of Anastasia, a 17-year-old street cat recently evicted from one of the most beautiful palaces in the medieval city.
The tricolor feline appreciated by the many tourists who visit the ancient Ragusa had chosen to spend his time under the arches of the rector’s palace, an architectural marvel of the 14ᵉ century. Last March, a wooden kennel was made and installed in the palace garden to house the animal. An initiative that was not to the liking of the management of the city’s museums, which sits in the palace. The latter demanded the removal of the niche soon after, to the chagrin of animal rights activists.
No one is allowed to damage “the unique and historic ensemble” that is Dubrovnik, “in particular by building shelters or settlements”, she said in a statement. The decision sparks heated debate in the locality of 44,000 inhabitants. On social networks, calls to protect the animal, which had already been expelled last year from a makeshift shelter, are increasing.
An online petition launched
“Anastasia needs her house! Give her her house back! Apparently, cultural institutions are run by people without culture,” one user posted on Facebook. In an online poll organized by a local newspaper, 90% of the 4,500 participants believed that the niche should remain under the palace arches. “It’s his house. It’s only one cat, there aren’t 70 of them,” exclaims Srdjan Kera.
But the mayor of Dubrovnik Mato Frankovic came to the aid of the museums, noting that the city was home to plenty of stray cats and could be proud of the fact that they are all “well fed”, not “skinny”. “It shows how this city lives with animals. Why should we house them now?”.
In the meantime, the cat has her own Facebook page, “Kneginja Anastazija” (Princess Anastasia) and an online petition demanding the return of her house had collected nearly 12,000 signatures on Saturday April 16.