We could almost say that it all started by accident when, in 1984, Matilde started giving a hand to an 84-year-old lady. At the beginning her contribution was simply to provide canned food and other cat products to the elderly lady, who was mentioned to her by Carla Rocchi (current ENPA President), the ally of long battles, starting with the ‘281’ Law. All of a sudden this little old lady disappeared and only a month later did Matilde find out that she had broken her leg and couldn't go personally to look after the cats.
So Matilde decided to give a hand directlyand take over for the lady for one of the voluntary shifts looking after the large cat family. This is how she finally realised how tragic the situation was, above all that something more than just finding food for the cats had to be done.
The sight before her very eyes was indescribable. Most of those poor cats were nearly devoured by mange, their ears nearly non-existent, many of them had become blind.
In spite of all this, these poor animals were still healthy enough to be able to mate and reproduce, giving birth to kittens who all too often didn't live more than a month because of diseases and 'interventions' by humans! To aggravate conditions, we must add that both adult cats and kittens were the object of 'uncivilised' deeds by people who amused themselves by letting their dogs tear them apart or by clubbing them to death. A sad morning, which memory could never be erased from her mind, Matilde found six kittens skewered on a stick, just like on a spit. Can you imagine the emotions such a scene aroused in her? This event was what prompted her to cause an uproar with the newspapers and try to reach whoever she could to sensitise public opinion and find a safe refuge for these defenceless animals.
Finally, through a friend who was an archaeologist with the Superintendence, she managed to get permission to access inside the Pyramid archaeological area. It meant starting from scratch, but that was already something; in addition she had to do everything secretly because, in spite of the permits, there was hostility from some of the area officials who were strongly against inserting shelters for the colony of cats that already lived there. She started bringing wooden boxes, covering them with rolling shutters, and having most of the animals sterilised, everything always at her own expense. And just when she was working hard to make the place and the life of the new inhabitants dignified, two officials from the Superintendence intervened again to interfere with her work, creating all likely and imaginable (we could almost say 'imaginary') problems, being obviously hostile. Matilde requested that she at least be authorised to lock the upper gate that allowed free access, in order to keep out extraneous and ill-intentioned people and the distribution of poisoned meatballs. She was denied this too! Yet Matilde nevertheless obtained what she set out for, thanks to the help of other much more understanding officials.
So this is the 'pyramid' story of Matilde, who is the star of the beginning of the adventure. It was immediately obvious that to keep the colony operating, volunteers would be needed, because it would be impossible to manage the colony by herself. And little by little, over the years, the first volunteers appeared, who even today are still insufficient in numbers to meet the needs of the colony. We started asking for help and finally things started moving. After six years we finally got running water; we had to bring water from home before. Then drains were made and the cats no longer drowned during torrential rains, when the area filled with water one metre deep and the poor animals who took refuge inside the openings in the wall ended up being trapped and died.
But the real miracle happened when, with the help of the Superintendent of State of that time, Adriano La Regina, a fervent cat lover, the manager and the deputy of area Prof. Claudio Moccheggiani Carpano and Dr. Franco Astolfi, also happy cat owners, the colony reached a time of tranquility and happiness. Brickwork shelters were built where the animals could take refuge from the rain and the cold. Then Villa Andreina, offering housing and treatment for animals, supported the colony with food and medical care for a year and donated pretty little wooden houses to place in the structures. This made colony life better even though the number of cats grew progressively, and especially for the little ones there was no place to give them shelter. Over the years , with the work of Matilde and the arrival of many volunteers , the colony grew .Thanks to the hard and good work done by the association, the Superintendence for the Colosseum , the Roman National Museum and Archaeological Area of Rome, began to let the association organize some little cat-events in the archaeological site itself. The ARCA Association and its leader Matilde have promoted and continue to promote adoption campaigns of these cats - in addition to long distance adoptions (sponsorships)- by organizing initiatives throughout the year within the archaeological area of Piramide: ‘Cats in the shadow of the Pyramid’, held in May; the cat's Day (February 17), the Adoption day for the adoption of abandoned kittens, the Christmas market in December. The Association also participates as a sponsor to the Supercatshow event and is often invited to RAI and RomaUno programs for its expertise on the feline world in its various aspects, and issues related to the stray and abandoned cats. In all these events, in addition to promoting and increasing the adoptions of needy cats looking for a forever home, the Association is committed to raising awareness: the purpose is to encourage and increase the interest of Roman citizens to the world of cats, and to spread the practice of sterilization, the only mean to contain the number of stray cats on the territory. From August 2009 to July 2012 the ARCA Association managed on behalf of the City of Rome also the feline colony of Villa Flora; Since 2009 it reached an agreement with the Policlinico Umberto I for the management of the cat colony that lives in the Hospital Gardens . And since 2003 it also runs the municipal feline Oasis of Porta portese . This is the story of the Cat Colony of Piramide and the 30 years path the Association has done thanks to the tireless work of Matilde Talli. .