Lonely Planet Writer

Why a whole army of fluffy toy cats has suddenly appeared at an Italian seaside town

If you were holidaying in Bisceglie this week, you may have been perplexed at the sight of toy cats appearing on beaches, streets, parks and benches in the picturesque Italian town. We don’t blame you being confused as we would be too, but there’s a good explanation.

50 fluffy cars appeared in Biscegie. Puglia. Image: Nerd
50 fluffy cars appeared in Biscegie. Puglia. Image: Nerd

Bisceglie is a seaside town in Puglia in southern Italy with a population of approximately 55,000 people. And now it also has around 50 fluffy cats. The mystery was solved when the tags around the stuffed toys’ necks were read, as they revealed that the moggies were fronting a guerilla marketing campaign aimed at raising awareness of the town’s rubbish problem.

50 fluffy cats appeared in Biscegie. Puglia. Image: Nerd
50 fluffy cats appeared in Biscegie. Puglia. Image: Nerd

Nerd, the marketing agency behind the stunt, claimed that an increase in rats in the town was linked to a contentious new waste collection system that was introduced a few months ago. It was striving to encourage authorities to act by placing the cuddly toys around the town, because as anyone who ever watched the cartoon series, Tom and Jerry, will know, the cat is famously the sworn enemy of the rat.

50 fluffy cats appeared in Biscegie. Puglia. Image: Nerd
50 fluffy cats appeared in Biscegie. Puglia. Image: Nerd

The rulers of Bisceglie may be deemed by residents to be acting too slowly around the anti-social problem of rubbish, but elsewhere in the country, other political bodies were getting tough on undesirable practices. The toy cat invasion comes shortly after the mayor of Florence announced that steps in various locations would be hosed down to prevent tourists from eating their lunches there and leaving rubbish behind, while the mayor of Rome announced that there would be no more paddling, eating or washing pets in Rome’s historic fountains.