I know that everyone must be waiting for a political analysis of what is going on in Lebanon right now. I am sorry to disappoint you, but I do too much of that at work. Today, as I was wondering what to write on my blog, a kitten crossed my path with a French fry on his mouth. It was a sign (and the cutest thing I have seen)! So today’s topic is: Beirut’s cats.
You know how some cities are full of street dogs? Not here. Beirut is full of street cats.
As a matter of fact, in the corner of our house, there are a 3 or 4 green dumpsters where a bunch of cats live in. It’s something like the Lebanese version of Top Cat, that cartoon from the late 70s. In Mexico, we had a far better name for that show, “Don Gato y Su Pandilla”, and it was my absolute favorite.
I have taken upon myself the task of giving names to these cats, since they are - after all- our neighbors and deserve all our respect. So there’s Moustache (a cat with a little black line under his nose), the Blondies (a yellow cat and her 3 kittens), Cinnamon Roll (another yellow/brown cat with crazy circular lines, probably the father), Crasher (a black cat that sleeps inside of our building) and the grey cat that has no name (and whom we thought was a house cat and used to pet him, until we realized that we couldn’t see the dumpster dirt on him because he is grey).
They are pretty good neighbors, since they take care of mice and mind their own business. However, at some point they can be very loud, when they fight or when they, hum, fight in a different way, so then it gets pretty annoying.
The American University of Beirut, or AUB as it is known here, hosts a LOT of cats. It’s actually pretty cool, you have this awesome campus, with wonderful gardens, a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, and loads of lazy cats. They live on campus and make you understand that they were there first. If you want to sit on a bench and there is a cat there already, you can forget it, it won’t move. As a matter of fact AUB launched recently a 2011 calendar to raise awareness and support the welfare of campus’ cats. Very cool.
We usually don’t think of animals as victims of war. But after the war in Lebanon, there were several efforts to take care of street and abandoned animals. One worth mentioning was an initiative in 2006 to send close to 300 cats and dogs for treatment and adoption to the US.
There are sadder chapters on this topic, and barbarism towards animals is still present in Lebanon. However, there are several agencies that take care and advocate for animals as well.
I personally think the cats in my streets are the cutest thing. I can't keep a straight face when I walk pass them and they are fighting to death with a plastic bag. I just wish I could take them all home with me...