Francesco Totti Carter Richardson (Totti) was born in Rome, Italy on 25 April 2006 – Liberation Day in Italy and Anzac Day in Australia.
Totti was named after Francesco Totti, the famous Italian and AS Roma footballer, and former captain of the Azzuri, the Italian national soccer team. The real Totti scored the goal that put Australia out of the World Cup in 2006. Italy subsequently went on to win the World Cup that year.
Totti was one of the famous Roman street cats. He was born in an ancient army barracks just near the Colosseum and was found in “condizioni pietose” (pitiful conditions). He was blind from birth due to cat influenza and suffered a condition (chronic rhinitis) that attacked his nasal membranes, making breathing difficult. He also suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. As a kitten, Totti had huge back feet and ears.
We found him on the website of the “Canile Comunale di Roma Muratella”, a large council rescue home for abandoned animals situated on the outskirts of Rome. At the end of August 2006 we travelled down to the Canile and adopted Totti, returning him on the same day to our apartment in Milan via high speed train. In accordance with Italian law we were required to pass an exam comprising 45 questions, to show that we were fit parents. Luckily, we passed.
Totti lived in our 6th floor apartment in via Lovanio, Milan. Being blind, he couldn’t go outside. But in those years we travelled often, so he spent a lot of time at a “gattile” (cat boarding facility) outside Milano known as “Pensione dei Fiordalisi”, where he had a little outside grassed area. That is where he met his little sister “L’amica” (Meeky), who also came to live with us in 2007.
In September 2009 we moved to Toronto, Canada, and both Totti and L’amica moved in to our 12th floor apartment in Bloor Street West, Toronto. They travelled to Toronto on a KLM 747, via Amsterdam. Again we were travelling often, so when we were away we had Liz come to the apartment every day and look after them, sometimes for a month or so at a time. By that time Harry had also flown over to Toronto to join the team.
In late 2011 it became apparent that we would have to move back to Sydney, so we started to get the team ready for return to Australia. But due to the strictness of Australia’s quarantine laws and the timing of their rabies vaccinations, they all had to stay in Toronto for another three months after we left, before they could return to Australia. So from mid November 2011 until late February 2012 they boarded with Susan that cold winter in her tiny little apartment in Toronto.
In February 2012 Totti, along with L’amica and Harry, flew from Toronto to Melbourne, via Hong Kong. They then had to spend three months in quarantine in Spotswood, Melbourne, where Celia would visit them from our holiday home in Eldorado near Beechworth. After his release from Spotswood, Totti came to live at Eldorado for a few months, before eventually coming to live in Annandale in mid 2012.
Totti was the singularly most amazing cat we have ever had. And we have had lots. In many ways he was like a puppy dog – he was into everything, constantly following you around and listening to what you were doing. His extra sensory perception was incredible, and you wouldn’t even really know that he was blind. He was up for games all the time, and loved the rattling of keys and crunching of paper. He would always be at the door to greet you when you arrived home. He sat on the lounge between us every night. He spent lots of time at Vet HQ in Double Bay, and was a favourite there, often being left to roam around. At our little farm in Eldorado he loved spending time outside, which he couldn’t do in the city, and he would chase birds and stalk magpies – never catching them though.
We always knew that Totti would have a shorter life. His chronic illnesses worsened considerably over the last few years, he was constantly sneezing, and he was subject to regular nasal washouts. He was on significant medication. Over the last few months he began to fade a bit, and wasn’t quite as active as he used to be.
Totti passed away with his family, and all his friends from Vet HQ, on the afternoon of Wednesday 9 September 2015. He was 9 ½ years old.
In his life, Totti lived in or visited the following places: Rome, Milan, Amsterdam, Toronto, Hong Kong, Spotswood (Melbourne), Eldorado (Beechworth), Annandale and Vet HQ Double Bay.
We will never forget our little Totti.
Bevan and Celia — 13 September 2015.