A beautiful red-headed friend of mine leads a very exciting life — she is a high-ranking diplomat with the U.S. State Department. Her job takes her all over the world including Syria, France (Paris!), Israel and the Sudan. Her most recent post was in Lahore, Pakistan. Being a diplomat is exciting and challenging work but with all of the constant moving it can also get lonely, so my friend, Isabelle, often adopts and re-homes stray cats when the opportunity arises. In Pakistan such an opportunity arose — and now two cats, Nawaz and Shabaz who were born to a homeless mama, live in Washington D.C.
Nawaz and Shabaz’s mother was a skinny stray cat that happened to wander by the U.S. Consulate in Pakistan. Souhail, a Pakastani driver for the consulate, has a soft heart and saw the hungry, pregnant mama cat peering skittishly from behind a pile of rubble on the street. He called to her and the savory smell of his shish kabob sandwich was too much for her to ignore. She cautiously crossed the road and eventually accepted food from Souhail. Souhail would gather meat scraps from the consulate kitchen and feed mama cat. They developed a friendship and soon mama cat made the consulate compound her home – and just in time, as her litter of kittens arrived within days.
Knowing that Isabelle also had a soft spot in her heart for felines, Souhail, mentioned to her that a cat had just given birth to a litter of two. Isabelle located the mother’s hiding place and began bringing her cans of tuna twice a day.
At a time when tensions within Pakistan were escalating due to increased Taliban activity, Isabelle found great solace in visiting mama cat and her kittens every day. When the kittens were ready to wean, Isabelle took the the pair of babes home with her. She named her furry boys, Nawaz and Shabaz, after two of Pakistan’s political leaders. She had them vaccinated, neutered and prepared the paperwork to bring them back to the United States as her tour in Pakistan was nearly over.
The trip back to the U.S. was obviously nerve-wracking for Nawaz and Shabaz as by the time they reached customs at JFK airport, their meowing had been reduced to a pathetic wisp of a sound.
You cannot blame them for howling during their 36 hour flight from the Middle East to America as they had no idea that they were being taken from the dry dusty streets of Pakistan, which were rife with violence – and definite extreme hardship for stray cats – to a pampered and safe apartment life in our nation’s capital.
When they arrived they had their first encounter with snow, which they found utterly disdainful and were thus more than happy to lounge around Isabelle’s warm and cozy apartment. But then spring arrived with its cornucopia of chirping birds, buzzing bees and warm sun – and they begged to go outside. Inside, they admittedly had done more than lounging and in fact would occasionally tear around the apartment knocking over vases, orchid plants and cups of coffee. Isabelle realized her two boys had a good dose of wild in them, having come from a long lineage of semi-domesticated, semi-feral street cats.
She also realized her half-wild cats desperately needed to go outside, so she opened the door and let them explore. She hoped they would stay on her patio, but alas her boys were roamers and the patio was only interesting for so long. Now they roam for hours upon hours, only popping back in through a cracked window for a belly rub and a fresh can of cat food. Having just visited my friend in her D.C. flat, I could see Nawaz and Shabaz were clearly miserable when kept inside for extended periods of time. Isabelle and I talked about this dilemma as she felt it was not safe for them to be in such a dense urban environment with so many cars and other dangers, but she also felt is was cruel to keep them indoors. She concluded she must find them another home. I agreed.
But neither of us could think of a friend or family member that would be able to adopt the two boys together, provide them love and allow them free range in an area that was relatively cat safe. Then I had an idea – Care2 readers are big cat lovers and maybe, just maybe, if I wrote a post about Nawaz and Shabaz, someone would be willing to adopt them. Isabelle brightened at the idea and said she would be happy to pay to transport her boys and offer a small stipend for their care. So, Care2 readers are you up to the challenge? Are you interested in embracing two Middle Eastern kitties into your life? If so, please leave a comment below and I will get in touch with you.