In March, we travelled to Venice and were delighted to visit the cat sanctuary Gattille Di Malamocco, on the island of Lido. It is run by the wonderful Mariagrazia and her dedicated team of volunteers collectively known as Dingo. What a wonderful place-although it is currently home to around 180 cats, when Mariagrazia showed us round she knew the name, personality and story of each and every one and they all knew and loved her. Some cats had very special needs which were attended to with extraordinary care and affection and others are strong and healthy and needing loving homes. Mariagrazia and her team also feed and care for 17 other cat colonies on the island of Lido alone.
Dingo also look after thousands of other stray cats scattered throughout the city and the inhabited islands of Venice. They provide them with shelter, feed them daily, give them veterinary care and neuter them. A new chapter of Dingo was recently formed in Mestre, which is the modern part of Venice on the mainland. This has it’s own set of problems and the strays there live in worse conditions than on the lagoon due to traffic, construction sites, unleashed dogs and mistreatment.
Dingo finds safe homes for around 200 cats per year and the adoptive homes are checked very carefully and accompanied by a ‘Declaration of adoption.’
Fundraising is very important and as well as membership fees, donations, sale of calendars and other goods on stalls, supporters can also ‘adopt from a distance’ a stray Venice cat for 108 euros per year.
The sanctuary at Lido is such a happy place for many cats with very unhappy stories and we were so impressed with the warmth and compassion of those who run it so efficiently-it was an inspiration. It is a must for animal-lovers visiting Venice but visiting times are limited to mornings 9-1 and they are very busy. It is also quite difficult to find if you don’t know where you are going. It took us two attempts! Catch the vaporetto to Lido then a bus to Malamocco, then ask for directions.
Gattile di Malamocco
Via Teodato Ipato,
30126 Lido Di Venezia