The workload at the sanctuary demands our presence seven days a week, including Christmas, Easter and every other holiday.
A workday at Torre Argentina, seven days a week
We have organized our workdays to begin at 8 a.m. with cleaning and disinfecting cages. Due to our confined quarters and the ease with which diseases spread, this job is one of the most important and is taken care of by a our cleaning staff.
Early in the morning, our resident vet technician takes care of the cats that are on medication or in therapy for a chronic condition and checks cats that require special attention or follow up care after surgery: all he does and all his observations are logged into his book of records. More often than not, he will then be on his way to take one more cats to the vet for examination, sterilization or for general surgery but this can also be postponed to the afternoon depending on the vets’ schedules. If there is no trip to the vet, there will be other routine tasks, like an anti parasite treatment for all cats. The vet staff also handles the adoptions and screens prospective adopters but this takes place in the afternoon. Much of the vet team’s time is taken up by the phone calls from anxious cat ladies who instead of contacting a vet, seek counsel from TA although they are reminded time and time again that the shelter is not a clinic!
Food is distributed to the cats in the underground shelter and to those that live permanently outdoors among the ruins twice day, once around 10 a.m. and at around 4 p.m. Especially while feeding the outdoor cats, the volunteers must keep a vigilant eye out for sick or newly abandoned ones who must be caught, treated, vaccinated, spayed and neutered.
The workload at the sanctuary demands our presence seven days a week, including Christmas, Easter and every other holiday. The cats receive daily and constant attention but when we open to the public, they share it with our visitors. Every day from noon to 6 p.m., volunteers show visitors around, explain the nature and goal of our work as well as our programs; they introduce the cats and last but not least, count on donations that are vital for the survival of the sanctuary.
The administration takes place in the office where each volunteer has a special task and where, since 2006 we have moved into a new era thanks to a workflow management system. However, each member of the office staff still has to be available at any time when needed elsewhere, whether it is cleaning a litter box, cage, talking to the public or running errands.
We basically run three programs, the main program is and will always be our TNR (Trap Neuter Return) but for fundraising purposes, our Adoption at a Distance is almost as important and practically everybody in the shelter is more or less involved in the different aspects of this program. Since 2004 we also run a Foster Program, essential for the survival of immature kittens. Many of our own volunteers are involved in this program but we also rely on Rome citizens.
In spite of never ending obstacles and disappointments, we have not lost our motivation. At times when it seems impossible to go on, something happens that raises hope and encouragement. Perhaps one of our most severely disabled cats is adopted or a generous donation helps pay another bill. In the end, the hundreds of abandoned cats and kittens that have been placed in loving families and the thousands we managed to have sterilized every year make it all worthwhile.