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Stray Cats Cause a Stir at the Kabul Embassy

Stray Cats Cause a Stir at the Kabul Embassy

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.

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Photo from nakae via flickr.

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212 comments

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4:37PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

Don't know what the fuss is....sounds like a symbiotic relationship such as the one enjoyed between the barnyard cats and the farmers and ranchers of old. The cats have a roof to settle under, and in turn catch and eat all of the unwanted "guests" with either four legs or no legs that have been known to bring disease or, in the case of snakes, maybe a little poison as well as inconveniently vying with humans for the sunny part of the sidewalk......as for the scratchings, trust me, I work with some of the most "domestic," (as well as spoiled) kitty-cats in the US, and they scratch too.....it's just a matter of watching that tail and picking up the vibes on whether that little fluffy wonder wants you around or not.

9:47PM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

I can't believe a bunch of diplomats are fighting over this! Look after the cats.

6:25AM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

PRESERVE THE EMBASSY CATS: take care of them! I spent 26 months in the Kabul region at various ISAF bases and a US post during two US Army deployments from 2007 to 2010. Frequently occurring lonliness and isolation are significant emotions that can compromise one's concentration, performance, mission, and even safety. My caring for multiple cats and kittens during my time there, even tho' forbidden by General Order 1B, really preserved my emotional health and well-being during difficult times and aided me in my official duties, and even facilitated my interactions with Allies and Afghan security forces and citizens. In addition, the cats are useful for pest control and keeping away outsider cats. Just vaccinate, and neuter, and ask for donations of food, or take the left-overs after the chow hall closes, as I did. Keep feeding areas neat, and provide boxes for the winter. There is a necessary public safety usefulness, theraputic, and emotionally supportive benefit for staff, military, and employees.
R Terrance Stanton, DPM LTC (ret), Liverpool PA 17045

2:57PM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

Hooray - the Care 2 folks deleted his inappropriateness! WE cannot do that. It was done by the site monitors. Thanks!! :)

2:47PM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

Gotta love the good humans on here ! Thanks for the positive comments in favor of saving innocent, that's right INNOCENT, lives. As someone posted a while back - the ONE negative (ie craaazzzyyy) nay sayer on here does this continually on the Care@ Cause list, and is just getting fuel for the head demons that are rolling around in his head, so we should not continue to feed that particular fire. It (he) will probably implode on it's own anyway...
Hooray for the animal advocates! :)

7:42AM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

Has that embassy got a garden? If not, those cats must be bored to tears... imagine hanging around on that inhospitable tarmac all your life, with the occasional bad vibes coming from certain embassy staf who don't happen to like cats. Cats are special, and they must please be neutered and maybe a couple kept as 'embassy cats'... the rest, also neutered, need homes found for them where they can live happily ever after, and the less tame ones could be 'softened up' by people with patience and love, otherwise, I'm sure they'd be grateful to go and live on a farm somewhere. I hope these dreams of mine will come true for them, and thanks for bringing this scenario to our notice... yet more animals in need to put on our prayer list. I'm not a hugely religious person in the 'going to church every Sunday' way, but I have a very deep faith, and truly believe, 'More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of'. (That was a quote by an English poet whose name escapes me and I haven't got time to look it up, but well said, Sir!)... bet it was a cat-lover!

4:31AM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

Thanks for sharing the story and I think the cats should stay. Of course they should be spayed/neutered so NO more cats arrive!

1:31PM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

These cats are American and this is their country. They deserve a right to stay. The Embassy needs to have them spay and neutered though if they don't want more cats.

7:18AM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

You'd think with being AMERICANS in the US embassy in KABUL, AFGHANISTAN, situated between IRAN & PAKISTAN, a few stray cats & the odd scratch should be the least of their concerns!!! Do the right thing, spay & neuter the kitties & follow through on the plan to ship them back to the US to homes & sanctuaries.

3:52AM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

thanks for sharing hope all the cats get allowed to stay :)

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