Home | Valente and DiRenzo Family History - From Our Correspondent in Geneva - Openings for cats in Gambatesa's old doors

An Old Doorway in Gambatesa with a flower decoration and a "door" for the cat, and a rusty old plowshare

There are many decorations like the round stone flower on the lower right-hand side of the door on older buildings in Gambatesa.

Old doors for cats

If you look at the picture of the old door in Gambatesa I took last year, you can see a little hole on the left. All the old doors in Gambatesa have little holes for cats. (All the old doors.) Sometimes the hole was round. Every family in the village had one or two cats at home. It was necessary because of the rats and the mice.

An old doorway in Gambatesa, 30 KB

Stories about the Lives of Cats and Gambatesa

This year a man who had a cat died in Gambatesa and his relatives came from Rome to close his house. He had a cat and they took the cat with them. But when they arrived at San Vittore del Lazio (near Monte Cassino) they decided to abandon the cat. They dropped the cat before taking the highway to Rome. My cousin and my aunt told me that after 3 months the poor animal was back in Gambatesa. "He had only the skin on his bones when he got back, and now he lives near the house next to us which was his home before."

That real story reminds me the story told by my Uncle Francesco in Termoli.

In Gambatesa people don't kill adult cats but they "lose them", that is, abandon them by getting the cat lost. And so one day a man who had a cat decided to lose his cat. He went into the woods and walked and walked. He dropped the cat and went back home. After a while the cat was back home. The man did this several times, but the cat was always able to find its way back. In the end he went into the woods and walked, walked, walked and walked. Then he realized that he had lost his way. The man found his way back by following the cat. After that he decided to keep the cat.

Today most of the Gambatesans -- most but not all -- don't care about animals, and newer doors don't have doorways for cats. But some people still have a use for animals: there is now a donkey in Gambatesa again; a man bought it this year and he goes to work on his masseria ("farm") with it.

Photograph (August 2003) and stories (July 2004) by Angelo Abiuso (Geneva).

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The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/fioretto.html
Last revised: 11 March 2007 : 2007-03-11 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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