Cat Man Of Aleppo Saves The Cats Of War
The images out of Syria’s city of Aleppo are nothing short of heartbreaking. One man, 43-year-old Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel knows first-hand about the ravages of war, with respect to his fellow humans and to another group of affected citizens–cats.
In what seems to be somewhat out of place considering the devastation the battles around him have brought, he has re-opened a cat shelter, named Ernesto’s Cat Sanctuary. The sanctuary is named after his favorite cat.
Al-Jaleel has had a soft heart for cats his whole life, and says that when he was a young adult, he’d stop by butchers’ shops on his way home from work to look for scraps to feed strays in his neighborhood. The former electrician became an ambulance driver in 2011 when war broke out in his hometown, and still, as he carried his fellow friends and neighbors for medical care, he never forgot his cat friends.
As people left the city, Jaleel began taking care of the 170 cats left behind, and earned the nickname of “ The Cat Man of Aleppo.” Savvy to post on social media, he was able to use donations from friends and followers to set up a cat sanctuary to help with the task of maintaining the lives of the cats affected by the war. Jaleel said that showing mercy to people starts with showing mercy to everything else, and in taking care of the war’s cats, he helped take care of his people.
Meet Mohammed Jaleel – he's known as "The Cat Man" in Aleppo.
Posted by Al Jazeera English on Tuesday, June 5, 2018
In 2016, however, a deadly barrage of gunfire on Aleppo’s neighborhoods brought another mass fleeing of residents, seeking shelter wherever they could find it, and working hard to save what cats they could. Jaleel says that as families fleed, he gave each family two cats in plastic vegetable baskets to try and find shelter and refuge.
Able to escape the city, in early 2017, he found a place to set up his second shelter in Kafr Naha, a province of Aleppo. He says they were able to house 18 of the 22 cats that had been smuggled from the villages and they work to keep them healthy and treated from the ravages they faced. Saying that it’s not just humans who suffer, he feeds the animals and an in-house vet also serves as an animal clinic.
Say Hello to our new kitten founded today by the children of the village , they brought him to the house of cats and we immediately started to treat him.
Welcome to Ernesto’s 🐱. @theAleppoCatman pic.twitter.com/jbzJKZmow8
— The Aleppo CatMan (@theAleppoCatman) June 1, 2018
Jaleel says that they treat horses, cows and chickens and estimate that they’ve given over 7,000 prescriptions of medicines away for free. Many people have no other place to turn but to Jaleel’s shelter, and say the care they give the animals is beautiful.
Amira and Henry : The meeting
they look like mother and son .
We wish that Amira can finally find serenity and a long-term partner ❤️
Video in the comments @theAleppoCatman pic.twitter.com/XRHtzqsLUE
— The Aleppo CatMan (@theAleppoCatman) June 3, 2018
Sadly, as they live in war and face shortages of all kinds, not all animals survive, but they do their best through social media and crowdsourcing options. One of their abilities for which they are so proud is an ultrasound machine that allows them to do sonograms for pregnant animals. They say that in a place where death is always around the corner, preparing to welcome new life gives them hope.
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