It might seem like diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul should have better things to do than squabble over a few stray cats, but according to the Washington Post, the embassy’s employees are bitterly divided over whether the 25-30 cats that live in the diplomatic complex should stay or go. †The cats are semi-feral and at least one (if not two) embassy staffers have been scratched. †But the cats also have their defenders.
“We basically canít go out at all. We canít walk across the street; we have to take a tunnel. There are no kids, no families, and basically what we have is the cats,” said one pro-cat staffer. “Itís as close as we come to normality.”
The anti-cat brigade is composed of people who are gunning for the felines’ extermination. †A town hall was convened to discuss the cats’ fate. †One proposed solution would allow diplomats to adopt and ship out the cats they wanted, while the rest would meet an unspecified end. †But, as one USAID staffer pointed out, the cats protect the embassy from other unwanted visitors – like completely feral cats, poisonous snakes, rats, and mice.
The debate rages on. †It looks like some cats may be saved if the anti-cat committee has its way – a shelter in Berkeley has agreed to take on the “Afghan refugee cats” – but for the time being, the cats seem to be safe. †And, as Alexander Abab-Santos observes at The Atlantic, now that the brouhaha has made its way into the pages of the Washington Post, any attempts at covert cat extermination could turn into an international incident.
Photo from nakae via flickr.