Stray cats have been invading the tourist magnet Le Mont-Saint-Michel for several months, according to reports of the local outlet Manche Libre.
The rocky island with a town and an abbey, almost completely surrounded by water, has to put up with around 100 furry colonizers, which have settled in the cellars and streets of the town with a population of 50.
It raises concerns among the locals and visitors over hygiene issues. An activist from the department of Manche, where the castle is situated, has started a petition, demanding that the local authorities deal with the problem. It has already gained nearly 1,500 signatures.
"Many of them are carriers of such diseases as coryza. It is not hygienic for a very touristy site like Le Mont-Saint-Michel where there are many restaurants," explains Sylvia Rault, who launched the petition.
“Dozens of cats and kittens are alone, sick, feeding on the garbage cans of restaurants, living in cellars, sewers, it is obvious that we must help them!” her post reads, suggesting that the animals be sterilized.
"I spoke to two people who work on the island and they confirmed the cats were there. People had been aware of the problem but no concrete action had ever been taken," the activist told Local France.
The mayor of Mont-Saint-Michel, Yann Galton, who spoke to the Manche Libre, promised that a campaign to capture the felines would be launched in Mont-Saint-Michel.
Meanwhile, the abbey Le Mont-Saint-Michel on the rocky island in northern France has become one of the most visited attractions in the country. It has also inspired a wide range of creators – among others, Peter Jackson with his movie saga “Lord of the Rings.” He copied the iconic look of the abbey for the City of the Kings, which came under fierce attack by the evil forces of Mordor.