Last week, I published a message from Heike Hagenguth, a cat writer living in Cairo, who was sharing information about reputable organizations to whom you can donate money to help feline victims of the current violence.
This week, another cat writer, New York Times bestselling writer, Gwen Cooper, reports on how dire the situation is and is sending out a heartfelt plea for volunteers to either foster a Cairo Cat OR ask a local no-kill shelter to foster a Cairo cat. The Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals (ESMA) can make travel arrangements to ship the animals to the U.S. if those animals will have foster homes or shelter placements once they get here.
I’ve spent the past several days on the phone with the director of an organization called the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals (ESMA). It was a conversation held in fits in starts, as the unrest in the area has made it difficult to maintain a phone connection for any length of time. But Ive been able to get a sense of the challenges ESMA and organizations like them are facing, and what we can do to help.
The director of ESMA asked me if I truly thought my readers would be concerned about the plight of animals all the way in Egypt. I told her that my readers are animal lovers, and we all understand that animals aren’t citizens of countries. They’re citizens of our hearts, and our hearts have no borders.
The situation is very dire for these animals and immediate help is needed. Gwen describes the problems they face:
Egypt hasn’t traditionally had much in the way of infrastructure when it comes to animal welfare, so there was already a large population of cats and dogs living on the streets. Those cats and dogs are now getting caught up in the tear gas being used against protestors. ESMA has retrieved dozens of cats and dogs who were on the brink of death, unable to breathe because of the tear gas and with eyes so swollen they couldn’t see. And even the physical injuries often pale in comparison to the sheer terror these defenseless creatures are being subjected to.
Foreign citizens living in Egypt have been returning to their own countries, forced to abandon their cats and dogs. Pet stores most stores, in fact have been closed for days, with nobody checking on the animals trapped inside who are slowly starving to death. The same goes for zoos. The banks are closed, which means ESMA has no access to funds with which to purchase food and medical supplies. Some rescue groups are being forced to feed their rescues a diet of bread soaked in water. Homes are being raided and burned down with defenseless pets inside. The volunteers at ESMA are taking turns guarding their shelter 24 hours a day, as raids and fires are happening in their neighborhood as well.
If you’re able, and have it in your heart to do so, please consider fostering a Cairo cat (or dog), affording them a second chance at a happy life. For some of us, just one more cat is not that big a deal, but it means a lifetime for the ball of fur that you foster.
If you can’t foster and you don’t have the means to donate, you can spread the word by forwarding this post or Gwen’s more in-depth post to your family and friends and ask them to do what they can to provide relief for these pets.
You can also contact your local shelters to see if they can take in even just one Cairo Cat. It offers them the possibility of free press coverage which can result in additional donations… a Win-Win.
If you CAN foster a cat (or have contacted a shelter who will agree to foster a Cairo cat), contact Gwen directly: gwen(at)gwencooper(dot)com
Cats should never suffer because of human politics. Let’s make it up to those who are suffering by offering kindness and a foster home.
[PHOTO SOURCE, TOP: SFGate/ Tara Todras-Whitehill ]