Residents and the municipality are at odds over the fate of an 18-year-old street cat, chased out of one of the palaces of the medieval city when the fine weather arrives.
An animal dispute that goes back to high places and makes the rounds of the international press. Dubrovnik, pearl of the Adriatic in Croatia, is torn over the fate of Anastasia, an 18-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 14th century. It was first installed in 2021 in a cardboard box, then this year in a wooden niche made at the end of March by Srdjan Kera, a resident of Dubrovnik, in the same half-Gothic, half-Renaissance style as the palace, equipped with a red velvet cushion and stamped with a plaque bearing the name of the feline, “Anastasia“.
Tolerating the device during the winter, the direction of the museums of Dubrovnik, which sits in the palace, demanded the removal of the niche with the arrival of spring. An episode that repeated itself in 2021 and then this year, to the chagrin of animal rights defenders. No one is authorized to infringe “to the unique and historic ensemble» what is Dubrovnik, «especially when building shelters or habitats“, defends the management of the museum in a press release.
“During the winter months, there are not many tourists in the city, so the niche does not bother anyone. Now the season has just started: the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra is giving concerts in the palace, and it’s not appropriate to have this shelter. We expect exhibitions, book presentations and other events. When the cold returns, we will return the doghouse, as agreed“, indicated at the end of March the direction of the museum to the site Total News Croatia.
Mobilization of social networks
The decision sparks heated debates 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. “Anastasia needs her house! Give him his house! Apparently, cultural institutions are run by people without culture., launched a user on Facebook. Supporters cite the cat-friendly policy of other museum monuments from the Hermitage in Russia to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
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 my house. It is only one cat, there are not 70 of them”, exclaims Srdjan Kera.
For the mayor, stray cats don’t have to be “accommodated» by city
But the mayor of Dubrovnik Mato Frankovic came to the rescue of the museums, noting that the city was home to a lot of stray cats and could be proud of the fact that they are all “well fed“, not “skinny“. “This shows how this city coexists with animals. Why should we house them now? We do not build lofts for the pigeons.“.
In the meantime, the cat has its 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.