The seasonal holiday centerpiece in the quaint Italian town of Lucera is more than just a Christmas tree.
It’s also the go-to hangout spot for a happy gang of local cats.
The tree, commissioned by the cultural association A Cuperte de Natale, is actually not a tree at all. It's a collection of tiny wooden houses, designed to represent the town's solidarity in staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19.
But even before the tree was finished being built, it caught the attention of Lucera's furriest residents, who saw the little houses as something more than merely symbolic.
"A family of stray cats lives in the square [where the tree was built]. They are taken care of by the locals," Luigi Conte, president of the association, told The Dodo. "They practically built the tree with us."
When all was said and done, the cats couldn't have been happier with how the tree turned out.
Before long, the cats claimed the tree as their own — much to the delight of all involved in its creation.
"The tree was built to send a message about these times we face. But then it became a shelter and amusement park for cats," Conte said. "They are the protagonists of Christmas this year, making the tree come alive. It was the perfect result."
Christmas is bound to be a little different this year due to the pandemic, as the tree's design was originally intended to suggest. But to have the tree commandeered by cats adds new meaning — that, despite these strange times, there's still plenty of joy to be found.
"I'm delighted they're there," Conte said. "It's a message of hope."
😻😻🐈🐕🐱🐾🐶 Happy Pet's, Happy Life!
Source: The Dodo