UPDATE, 8/7/2022: Anastasia has been allowed back on the palace grounds, but without the custom shelter a Dubrovnik carpenter built for her. Click here to read our latest story about Anastasia’s saga.
In a city that stood in as a filming location for King’s Landing in the hugely popular series Game of Thrones, it was only fitting that a regal cat named Anastasia would choose a palace as her home.
Anastasia chose the Rector’s Palace, a historic building in Dubrovnik, Croatia, as her royal abode, and she’s become a local fixture there for the past 17 years, a familiar feline face appreciated by locals and tourists alike.
People who run shelters in the city of 42,000 have tried to find a home for Anastasia in the past, but she always returns to the Rector’s Palace, so a group of volunteers set up a small cardboard shelter for her on the grounds.
But the snooty museum authority didn’t like the little dwelling and had it removed in May of 2021. In response a local woodworker named Srdjan Kera built a beautiful wooden cat house for Anastasia that combines elements of the palace’s gothic and baroque architecture, boasts a distressed finish that matches the five-century-old building’s facade, features a velvet bed for its resident feline princess, and even has a golden nameplate with “Anastasia” etched into the metal. (Spelled Anastazija in Croatian.)
The little cat palace blends right in under the larger palace’s arcade and even emulates the stonework patterns, but the people who run the museum authority still weren’t impressed and earlier this month ordered the eviction of Anastasia for a second time.
(Credit: Videographer Zvonimir Pandža, clip courtesy of DuList. Click through to see more photos of Anastasia, her local admirers in Dubrovnik and her beautiful cat palace by Srdjan Kera.)
“The opinion of the Dubrovnik Museums is still the same,” the museum authority’s leadership wrote. “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,”
The people of Dubrovnik aren’t having it. A petition to return Anastasia to her rightful palatial place has garnered more than 12,000 signatures, a huge number for such a small city. In addition, some 90 percent of readers said they wanted Anastasia to stay at the palace when polled by a local newspaper.
“Anastasia needs her house! Give it back,” one local wrote on Facebook. “Apparently, cultural institutions are run by people without culture.”
Kera even told the museum’s leaders that he would pay a fine if it meant Anastasia could stay, pointing out that at her age, she needs a stable, stress-free existence.
“It’s her home,” Kera said. “We’re only talking about one cat, not 70 of them.”