Public Backlash As Famous 'Cat Village' In St. Julians Faces Demolition
The place was an attraction for decades
The Cat Village is a cute little corner in a narrow street in St. Julian's dedicated to Maltese strays. A community of around 30 stray, the 'village' has over the decades been recognised as an actual attraction in the area, with visitors from all over the world showing up to the tiny shrine of all things animal lovers. Residents like Roza Zammit have made sure to not only maintain the small area, but also help put it on the map.
Now, however, the colourful Cat Village faces demolition due to building developments in the area. As expected, people like Roza aren't too happy about it.
The place is a refuge for stray and abandoned cats living in the area, and the community of people who frequently help out there are very concerned about the implications of this latest development.
The developers of the proposed block of apartments with underlying shops which would be replacing the village reportedly offered a new cat village when there was the initial outcry last year. "What we're offering is at least more hygienic," Portomaso director Ray Fenech had said. However, objectors to the project and the offered alternative had written that the cats, which are very territorial animals, could not simply be moved from one place to another, and it would only lead to irresponsibly destroying the colony.
Roza has fed the cats and seen to their health for years, believes this problem is way bigger than the cats themselves. "Apart from the cats, it's something for tourists and other people to come and see," she said. "For a lot of people it's like a place of therapy. There's nowhere for children to play in the area, so they come there sometimes. They're not going to come to see cement."