Friday, December 3, 2010

Feline Fridays goes European! Venetian Cat Sanctuaries

I've spent most of my life dreaming of Europe.  Maybe this stems from growing up in the ever mundane seeming Canadian prairies or maybe I just had lofty dreams, but I spent most of my childhood and adolescence knowing I was Europe bound.  Of course getting there took longer than I thought!

A couple of years ago I finally made it to Paris, and fell completely in love.  But the dream doesn't stop there, and it became official, shortly after we got back, that Venice would have to be our next European adventure.
And so it stands to reason that I've spent incredible amounts of time over the past two years researching Venice and our future dream trip there.

Needless to say it has lead me to discover a great many wonderful things, including two different Cat Sanctuaries and some great groups!  For instance, DINGO, the non-profit group running multiple colonies sanctuaries throughout Venice and the Islands.  Now unfortunately they're website is purely Italian so I can't glean much from it outside of wanting their calendar, but thanks to the good old web super highway I've found some great folks talking both about the group and the various sanctuaries.

Kathleen37, has posted this about DINGO on trip advisors website:
“ Cat Sanctuary, Malamocco, Lido, Venice. ”

Apr 13, 2007, 3:27 AM
Just a quick note with directions to the Cat Sanctuary on the Lido, for those that fancy a visit, and would like to make a donation.

"DINGO is a nonprofit organization that helps stray cats in Venice. These cat colonies are scattered throughout Venice and its islands. DINGO relies on private vets who work at reduced fees as well as the Public Veterinary Services whose help is unfortunately quite limited. They rely heavily on donations, sell a yearly calendar and have a stall in the market where they sell donated items.

DINGO address: Cannaregio 482/B, 30121 Venezia.
Secretary for DINGO: Signora Gabriella Sanna. Head of Malamocco Sanctuary: Maria Grazia Macaluso "

The Sanctuary is open to the public Monday thru Saturday, 9am till 1pm. Please be aware that the sanctuary is run by a very dedicated, but extremely under resourced staff. It may be that there won't be anyone available to show you round, due to vets visiting etc, so an email before, may be advisable.

The address of the sanctuary is
Gattile Di Malamocco
Via Teadato Ipato
Malamocco 30126
Lido Di Venezia
If you arrive on the Lido via vaporetto, as you exit the water bus stop, about 20 metres to your right, is a bus stop that will take you down to Malamocco. (If you have the 1/3 day vaporetto passes, these also work on the land buses on the Lido) You'll stay on the bus for about 10/15 mins and get off at Malamocco. With the sea on your right, via Teodata Ipato is on your left. Walk to the end of this road, and then take a right turn, and then turn right again, and the shelter is just there.

Here's a link to a google map;,+italy&hl=en&ie=UTF8&om=1&z=15&ll=45.375785,12.34314&spn=0.013837,0.029397&iwloc=addr
and here's a link to google earth, which shows the cat's home, with it's lovely cat houses, and sheltered gardens (bottom right hand of the picture, the office building has a greenish roof, with the white cat house roofs showing up to the right.),+italy&hl=en&ie=UTF8&om=1&z=18&ll=45.369876,12.34005&spn=0.00173,0.003675&t=k

If you love cats, it's really worth the trip. They are all genuinely loved and cared for, and if you can afford it, really need donations to go towards the vets bills.


Historically Venice has had a love affair with its stray cats.  They roamed the streets safely from the lack of vehicles, and they controlled the rat population, which has ever been an issue since Venice is city of water.  But, according to the VeniceTravel Blog in 1989 DINGO opened it's first cat sanctuary on the  island of San Clemente (previous site of a mental hospital), then moving them to Malamocco, on the Lido (after San Clemente was sold for redevelopment), as part of the city's Sterilization and relocation program. 
Check out Mama Cat Trust's blog post about her visit to Malamocco's cat sanctuary in March of 2008.  It sounds like a wonderful place to visit as well as support, I'll definitely be looking into how to get my copy of their calendar.
Among their sanctuaries DINGO also has one in Torcello, which Annie from had the pleasure to visit.  Check out her two blog posts The other Torcello cat story (Churches in Venice) and When you get there (Torcello) (Churches in Venice), where she meets such a lovely and handsome kitty it makes me long to do one of DINGO's long distance adoptions.  Honestly, how cool would it be to introduce your cat as the one you adopted from Venice ???!
Of course this web tour of the cats of Venice would be incomplete if I neglected to pass on info on the book by the name of, you guessed it, The Cats of Venice.  Published in 1998 it promises 80 glossy photos of cats luxuriating and frolicking back when they still owned the streets of Venice.

Now I guess we all know what I want for Christmas right? A DINGO cat calendar, a venetian cat and the Cats of Venice.  No sense in asking for it if it won't present a little challenge to the gifter right??!

Happy Feline Friday!


  1. I just discovered your blog when I was looking for information about Dingo. Now, I'll be bookmarking this and coming back to dip into your offerings.

    Thank you!

    PS Kathleen is a friend of mine; she took me to see her cats at Malamocco.

  2. Oh wow! small world. Tell Kathleen I'm extremely jealous of her visit to the sanctuary!

  3. I love Paris, but Venice is my favourite!

    Still getting back a couple of times a year, and always visit my friends at the sanctuary in Malamocco. If you need any further info re a visit, then post on the TA Venice forum and I'll be pleased to help. I hope you get to visit sometime soon, Venice is glorious!

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