In Dubrovnik, Croatia, the destiny of Anastasia, a 17-year-old stray cat, has caused a rift among locals.
Admired by the many tourists visiting the historic Ragusa, the senior cat had chosen to spend her time beneath the arches of the rector’s palace, a 14th-century architectural relic.
Unfortunately, authorities expelled the moggy from the stunning palace.
The Calico feline has been a Ragusa resident for some time. At first, she settled in a cardboard box.
From there, she spent her days roaming the palace’s exterior, visitors could often catch her standing on the building’s adorning sculptures.
After growing fond of the feline, Srdjan Kera, a Dubrovnik resident, decided to build her a bespoke nest at the end of March 2022.
The intricate kennel was made in the same half-Gothic, half-Renaissance style as the palace, with a red velvet cushion. A plaque with the name of the feline; Anastasia, was the finishing touch.
However, this sweet gesture didn’t meet everyone’s approval, The Dubrovnik Museum Directorate, which resides in the palace, disagreed with the creation of Anastasia’s new habitat.
Furthermore, the board soon removed the kennel, much to the disappointment of local animal rights groups. In an official statement, the museum explained its position, stating:
“No one is allowed to harm the unique and historic ensemble that is Dubrovnik, especially by building shelters or habitats,”
Anastasia causes controversy
Soon, the Directorate’s decision reached the public and sparked heated debates in the town of 44,000 inhabitants.
On social networks, calls to protect the animal, who had already been evicted last year from a makeshift shelter, multiplied.
One user posted on Facebook:
“Anastasia needs her home! Give her back her home! Apparently, cultural institutions are run by people with no culture,”
In an online poll organized by a local newspaper, 90% of the 4,500 participants felt that Anastasia’s house should remain under the arches of the palace. Srdjan Kera, the maker of the kennel, chimed in:
“This is her home. It’s one cat; there aren’t 70!”
The mayor takes sides
The debate saw the involvement of the city’s highest authority: Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic. Frankovic took the museum’s side, noting that the city was home to plenty of stray cats and could boast that they were all “well-fed,” not “skinny.” He added:
“It shows how this city coexists with animals. Why should we now house them?”
Meanwhile, the divisive Anastasia has her own Facebook profile called: “Kneginja Anastazija” ( meaning princess Anastasia).
According to The Straits Times, an online campaign to restore her home has gained thousands of signatures since April 2022.
To this day, the museum has not reconsidered its initial decision.