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Are there cats in the museum?

The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg Russia houses a huge collection of pieces, including some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world; but lesser known is that an army of cats has been guarding these treasures from predatory rodents since 1745!

That year, the Empress of Russia, Elizaveta Petrovna, signed a decree ordering cats to be found and brought to her court in Moscow - 'the best cats, the biggest, capable of catching mice and accompanied by a person who will look after their health. .'. By the time of Catherine the Great's reign (1762-96), there were considerable numbers of cats. They survived the invasion of the building by the Bolsheviks in 1917, but during World War II their descendants succumbed to disease or starvation. After three 'cat-free' years, they were reintroduced as soon as possible after the war. Today, cats live in the Hermitage; There are about 50 of them and are considered museum employees. Officially, the director allows 50, but in practice cats come and go, so it can go up to 60!!

Newcomers are vaccinated and most neutered to prevent undue proliferation, keeping just enough studs to maintain the population. Each cat has a 'passport' with its photograph and receives a special certificate from the Hermitage, which gives them a certain distinction.

None of the animals are allowed in the galleries... However, many of the green service doors in the Hermitage's six buildings have small cat doors, so that residents can come and go as they please among the gardens, where in summer they can be seen strolling or resting between exhibits. basement, where the 'cat headquarters' is located.

How lucky are the Hermitage employees! And in your museum? How is Integrated Pest Management done? Want to know more about this subject? We have a brand new course waiting for you here! See course details with Prof. Ricardo França on Integrated Pest Management here!

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