Civita D’Antino, a small town in central Italy, has elected a kitten as its first feline local authority. As the municipal mascot and official representation of all cats in the province, Miao is the first Italian cat ever to be appointed mayor.
Miao is a household cat who freely roams the streets and homes of Civita D’Antino’s, a town of around 900 inhabitants. Miao may have an owner, the young Amanda Di Fabio, but it hasn’t stopped the critter from continuing her explorations.
In addition to favoring the outdoors over the confines of a house, Miao also despises being tethered by a leash. Thus, Miao has decided to stay in the village, occasionally visiting her owner, who still provides for her.
Miao spends most of her time out and about in the city, either in search of companionship or sustenance.
Mayor Sara Cicchinelli and Deputy Mayor Matteo di Fabio, the father of Amanda, have acknowledged Miao’s importance in the community by giving the puss an office.
The Antinese government has publicly shown its support for animal rights by designating Miao as the mayor of the cats.
The program’s goal is to encourage a more respectful attitude toward roaming cats who would rather not live in a traditional household for various reasons of temperament or lifestyle.
Miao is just one of many animals that would rather be free to splash around in puddles after a storm than snuggle up in a warm bed on a rainy day, demonstrating how the priorities of humans and other animals don’t always align.
Pets in offices, a widespread tradition
It’s not the first time an animal has become a de facto mascot for a city, Kodami reports.
Dogs have been known to do this on occasion; one notable example is Nero, the dog mayor of Castellammare, who has been doing his rounds of shops and residents’ houses for nearly twenty years.
Some cats, like Chiattona from the Municipality of Capri and Marina from Gravellona Lomellina in Lombardy, have been adopted by locals. These felines regularly attend meetings and other public events in their municipality.
What started as a mascot project may turn out to be a chance to redefine cities as places where people and animals can coexist. The goal is for humans to reduce their interference with animals’ activities gradually.
How the government of Civita D’Antino will implement this subtle but potentially game-changing shift in its stance toward community pets remains to be seen.