Ethical Issues

Italy’s Cat Beach: Where Cats Go On Vacation




People love to have fun in the sun, to get away from reality for a bit and just relax. All a person needs to do is buy a plane ticket and fly to an exotic locale. They get to enjoy a bit of sunbathing, swimming and the general pleasure of life on vacation.  Well, there are actually a few lucky cats who get to enjoy this “life on vacation” all year round. There is a place where you can enjoy the company of felines while relishing in the sun and sand on vacation. That is, of course, if you go to a beach on the Italian island of Sardinia. The Su Pallosu beach is famous for being one of the few beaches that is full of felines. According to conventional wisdom, cats hate water, but these kitties love to frolic in the waves and leave their paw prints in the sand.



Cats and beaches don’t seem to go together in the minds of most people. But these cats have a long history at Su Pallosu. They were brought to the beach over a century ago by fishermen to deal with the serious rat infestation. The cats have stayed ever since. It is important to note that these cats are not wild. They are cared for by a shelter in the area and get health services as well as food. The cats that live on the beach have been spayed and neutered. Visitors are not allowed to simply abandon their cats on the beach. Trip advisor has rated this cat beach as one of the top places to go to enjoy a fine vacation. It was even awarded a certificate of excellence.


Travelers come from all over the world to observe the cats on the beach. They are often people who enjoy cats and combine fun in the sun with getting know new feline companions. The area is not heavily commercialized. It lacks the fancy hotels and fine restaurants of a large city. This helps keep the area quiet and ideal for the cats to enjoy a peaceful life by the sea. There are, however, a few souvenir shops designed with cat themes. They reflect the main tourist attraction in the area.  Andrea Atzori cares for the cats at Su Pallosu.   She notes that for people who love cats and beaches, the combination is a recipe for success. Many of the visitors remark how peaceful the cats seem and how much they enhance the vacation experience. While some people travel with cats, it can be inconvenient. It’s not simple to make all the preparations for bringing a feline on a plane to a foreign country. A visit to Su Pallosu allows travelers to enjoy the comfort of  cuddling up with a kitty without the hassle of traveling with a pet.


cats on a beach

There are only six residents in Su Pallosu. That means that cats literally outnumber residents 10 to 1. The cats on the beach are unlike the kind of feral cats you see in big cities. This is because they do not have many human beings to antagonize them. All of the people they come into contact with treat them kindly and respectfully. Therefore, the cats of Su Pallosu are rather tame and will come up to visitors, allowing them to pet them. These cats represent different species and have a variety of different markings and personalities. You can sometimes see a cat jumping over the tide or batting around a landed fish before eating it. The organization that takes care of the cats is called I Gatti di Su Pallosu. It is a non-profit organization that gives guided tours of the Colony and shows tourists around to archaeological sites. Visitors can get a full tour of turtle beach and the Gianni Atzori mineral collection. The tours of the island are free! However, visitors should book at least a week in advance, particularly during peak tourist season.



Many tourists are curious to see how the cats maneuver through the firm sand. They often marvel at the fact that the cats enjoy playing with the water since cats usually prefer to stay dry. Many find it fascinating to observe how they interact and behave in an environment with few humans.  The cats are left mainly to themselves. In addition to the cats, visitors to Su Pallosu enjoy a beach that is relatively unspoiled.  It has rich, aquamarine colored water and many flamingos and seagulls in view. Since Su Pallosu recently received a certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor, some are concerned that the island may become overrun with visitors. However, that still has yet to become a problem for the cats and the few inhabitants of the island.



The reviews of the beach on travel sites never fail to show enthusiasm. One couple chose the beach with the cats in mind. They wanted to spend their honeymoon with beloved felines, sun, and sand.  One of the reasons why Su Pallosu is not likely to become inundated with tourists is the long trek to the beach. It is a bit remote. One traveler described driving 140 km through the Sardinian mountains to reach the Beach. Travelers have also remarked that outside of the beach, they didn’t notice any other felines on the island.  Visitors are impressed by the friendliness of those who run I Gatti di su Pallosu and that they are able to care for the cats for free. Tracking down and taking care of outdoor cats can be a challenging job. It is especially difficult in an area that is not a customary feline habitat. The couple who care for the cat colony are sustained by donations from appreciative tourists.


man petting cat on beach

If you want to take a sightseeing tour of Italy, but don’t want to miss  your cat, go to the Su Pallosu beach. Somewhere you can find friendly cats who follow you along the beach and even let you pet them. If you appreciate the autonomy of cats who have a beachside society of their own, Su Pallosu beach is sure to warm your heart and add charm to your travels.

If you found this article interesting you’ve got to read  “The Art of Petting A Cat.”

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