The Hospital Cat
On our first afternoon in Venice on 2 November 2018 my daughter and I wander into a grand looking edifice. We don’t know that we are entering the Ospedale Civile or Public Hospital. Through automatic doors and into a courtyard we walk. What do we discover? A cat community!
The automatic doors appear to be operational for cats as well as humans. Even though the (slightly spooky) corridor is empty in the photo below, on my second visit I see a cat padding nonchalantly along a section of it, exiting at the door leading to one of the courtyards.
I take a photo of the entrance to the cat house. The cat in the porch looks like the cat in my drawing. If it isn’t the same individual surely it must be from the same family.
Though the tabby in my drawing looks rather aloof with a “Why are you bothering me?” expression (typical of felines) the cat community is welcoming and affectionate as the following photos affirm.
If it hadn’t been for Covid-19 I would have returned to Venice in March this year and come away with a whole new batch of source photos to draw from. I would have been spoiled for choice with 2020 material and would almost certainly have overlooked making a drawing from the Venetian hospital visit 17 months ago. The 2020 world health situation is forcing me to re-evaluate the photo-treasure I already have.
I thank all the brave compassionate people who work in hospitals, especially in the time of a pandemic. And thank you Venetian Hospital Cats. I saw visitors (probably their loved ones were patients) sitting on outdoor benches beside you, comforted by your purring presence.