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Date Posted: 06:56:16 02/24/03 Mon
Author: Lark
Subject: Monday Kitties (OT)

Kitty Kat Pride!

Cat lovers march for feline pride
Sunday, February 23, 2003 Posted: 10:59 PM EST (0359 GMT)

ROME, Italy (AP) -- Feline-fanciers wearing whiskers around their lips and with kittens peeking out of handbags marched through central Rome on Saturday to demonstrate "cat pride."

"Animals love you, love animals," one sign said. "Proud to be a cat lady," said another.

The goal of the demonstration was to encourage the government to offer more open spaces where animals can roam and to speed up free neutering for cats, thereby avoiding too many uncared-for strays.

Police said about 2,000 people turned out; organizers said it was 6,000.

In any case, the jolly parade started at the Colosseum and ran its way by Roman ruins toward city hall, where the cat-fanciers hoped to remind officials that cats don't vote, but they do.

"I have five cats in my house. I also take care of 20 stray cats," said Manuela Caputo, a 57-year-old school employee. "I told the authorities that the cats need to be neutered. No one seems to care. I have been waiting one and a half years, and meantime they had several litters."

One of the march organizers, Silvia Viviani, argued that "cat ladies" should be paid by the government for looking after strays.

"We want the authorities to recognize our work and efforts by giving it the status of a professional job," Viviani said.

Organizers promised that whether their demands are heard or not, they will be back next year.

:o)

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