Migrant-Cat Survives Voyage, Heads to Quarantine in Italy

Lampedusa, which is the largest of Italy’s Pelagie Islands, has opened its arms to the migrant feline Pupi. (Photos courtesy of Lampedusa Mayor Totò Martello via Courthouse News)

ROME (AFP) — Even cats must quarantine. 

A six-month-old cat named Pupi who survived a trip with his Tunisian owner across the Mediterranean before landing at Lampedusa is in good health and will be cared for, the island’s mayor said Wednesday. 

Mayor Toto Martello wrote on Facebook the orange male tabby with a white chest and paws had spent a few days at a migrant reception center with his owner after their arrival by boat in Italy on July 1.

It was then sent to a veterinary clinic for observation.

Provincial health authorities determined the cat was “in good health” and did not present symptoms of disease, said Martello.

But it would still have to be kept away from other animals for six months under an anti-rabies quarantine.

A woman from Lampedusa offered to take care of the kitten, said Martello, who signed a “custody” order for Pupi.

Migrants from Libya and elsewhere in North Africa continue to arrive at Italy’s shores, either after being picked up by humanitarian rescue boats or in their own small vessels.  

La Repubblica daily wrote that over 100 migrants had landed on Lampedusa on July 1, in 11 separate landings.

“It’s a story that may seem to some of little importance but it shows how many procedures and tasks, sometimes even the most unexpected, weigh down the municipal administration when we are faced with a landing of migrants on the island,” Martello wrote. 

But, he added, “even if it’s a small story, I’m glad it has a happy ending.”

© Agence France-Presse

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