Locals Fight against Dubrovnik Museums to Keep Cat Anastazija at Rector’s Palace (VIDEO)

Daniela Rogulj

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A tame tricolor 18-yeat old cat named Anastazija became famous far beyond Dubrovnik city limits this week. Not only is she popular amongst Dubrovnik locals, but they’ve constructed a small house for her on a step of the Rector’s Palace, which she calls home, reports Dubrovacki Vjesnik

The extraordinary gesture by locals was not welcomed by the Dubrovnik Museums, which has evicted Anastazija from the Rector’s Palace. 

And this is not the first time.

Namely, in May last year, Anastazija was evicted for the first time. The museum moved an improvised wooden house from the Palace, where she was resting during the pandemic. The then director of the Dubrovnik Museums, today the head of the City of Dubrovnik for Culture, Julijana Antić Brautović, said then that the cat house was not intended for year-round use. 

“In the winter months, there are not many people or tourists in the City, so the house does not bother anyone. However, it is already warm, the season is starting a bit, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra has concerts there, and it is not appropriate to have a house in front of the entrance to the Palace. That is why I told Nikša (‘Nikša Rudelić’ Rudela) to remove her, and if she needs to be somewhere, she can be moved to Porat. When it gets cold again, and the crowds subside, we will return the house, as agreed. Now that we are expecting concerts, exhibitions, book presentations, and other events, the view of the Palace with a cat house simply does not work,” Antić Brautović responded to the calls from residents who were committed to keeping Anastazija in the same place.

“She is very old and needs all possible care; she cannot remain homeless. In museums in Moscow, cats are pets; they are advertised as an attraction; at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, foreigners are photographed with cats. Yet, in our country, they are unannouncedly evicted,” citizens protested at the time.

Less than a year later, Srđan Kera, known as one of the champions of the Nazbilj Association, built a new accommodation for Anastazija with motifs of the Rector’s Palace and placed it in the same location on Monday, inviting Dubrovnik citizens to celebrate Anastazija’s new home together. However, a day later, Dubrovnik Museums again asked him to remove his work.


“The opinion of the Dubrovnik Museums is still the same. The cat house has no place in front of the Rector’s Palace, be it a cardboard box or a stylized dwelling. We emphasize that no one has anything against the cats that stay here for many years and which until recently had no housing,” said the museum and refrained from responding to calls. 

Kera said that if he has to pay a fine for placing the house in a ‘forbidden’ place, he is ready to pay the fine. Building this house took 21 days. 

“I disagree with the decision of the Dubrovnik Museums because sometimes the opinion should be changed. It’s easy to float; you need to swim a little. This story could have been used differently to show sensitivity to animals because it is about a cat who, interestingly, chose this area. You can take away her house and cardboard; she will always come here. It could have been a trademark of this locality because cats used to be on ships of the Republic of Dubrovnik for many reasons,” Kera pointed out.

“If they had respect, why shouldn’t we?” he asked himself and repeated that Anastazija was only one cat and that if there were 70, he too would protest. 

Due to their decision, Kera was forced to remove the house to an unknown location, reports Index.hr. In the meantime, the architect wrote a heartbreaking letter on behalf of Anastazija. 

“To you who have decided my fate: I am tired of these five years of torture around my stay, which I chose on the cold stone steps and the walls of the Rector’s Palace, cardboard and boxes that you picked up and left. I got tired of the whispering that I was a nuisance to you, and just when I got a real warm home, dreaming that I would spend this little time left in love and peace, today, like thieves in the night, in silence, they threw me out of my home in vain and removed it. 

It’s winter, I’m cold, and it’s starting to rain. That’s what the sky is crying about. Why do you hate me? I heard that you ordered your minions to remove my house, so when anyone saw me and could see that I was lost, they set a box up for me out of pity for me. Don’t take me far. 

Will I find a way to return to my city? Don’t even poison me. I don’t deserve to be humiliated and in pain as an old woman.

Put me to sleep. You will get what you have always wanted. My home is gone, and I will be gone. All that will be left is the memory that you killed love with hatred.”

This February, when Anastazija temporarily disappeared, the locals launched a search for her and contacted the municipal police through the Animal Friends Association, warning of the importance of proper treatment of the animal. Fortunately, Anastazija spontaneously showed up on her own. Nevertheless, Anastazija’s fans warn that anyone who tries to take her away can count on an appropriate reaction. 

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.


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