5 Acts of kindness towards animals from the Arab world

5 Acts of kindness towards animals from the Arab world
Published : November 10 , 2020
Latest Update : September 06 , 2021
Arwad is an Arab-British broadcast journalist & storyteller. Her international experience entails news-writing, copywriting, scriptwriting, TV/radio presenting/production, voice-over work and digital marketing.... more

Warning: several cat puns ahead!

I’ve loved animals for as long as I can remember. Must be because my parents are crazy about cats and we’ve had pets ever since I was a wee little child (so did they). Growing up, being kind to animals was second nature to me and I only wish I could say the same thing about the many no-so-kind-to-animals persons out there.

I remember one day making friends with a purr-ty little street cat while visiting Jordan from the UK. After getting plenty of love from my sister and me, she strolled towards a group of teenage boys; what happened next was not pretty.

The boys were mean and full of puberty hormones, which I can only pray were the reason behind them lighting that poor cat’s tail on fire. In a heartbeat, my sis and I ran towards the feline in an attempt to save her life. I grabbed the lighter out of the teen’s hand and threw it to the ground. He was mad. But so were we. We stand up to animal abuse.

Fast forward 15 years later and animal abuse still exists. As a journalist, I’ve written my fair share of articles on stray dogs being poisoned in Jordan or street cats getting shot in Saudi Arabia, amongst other heartbreaking animal abuse stories from around the world. 

But it’s not all a-paw-ling behaviour.

Today, dedicated animal charities in the Middle East put in thousands of hours to save and help protect cats, dogs and donkeys, as well as other types of animals, including endangered species. It is a step in the right direction and one that has received huge public support. 

Numerous paw-some individuals, who aren’t affiliated with animal welfare charities, in the Arab world have also in recent years put their paws down and created Facebook animal support and rescue groups to put a stop to hurting our furry friends.

The following stories of kindness towards animals come from all over the Middle East and are truly mew-sic to our ears. 

  1. The CatMan of Aleppo

Ever heard of the amazing Syrian electrician-turned-ambulance-driver who took in 180 cats in Aleppo during the war? The generous “CatMan” used what little money he earned from driving to feed the felines, who formerly belonged to Syrians who fled the city. In 2015, Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel joined forces with Aljazeera reporter Alessandra Abidin and the House of Cats Ernesto was born. Sadly, the cat sanctuary was bombed and most of its residents died. However, Mohammad’s current shelter houses more than 200 cats, four monkeys, a horse, doves, rabbits and dogs, oh, and a veterinary clinic that’s open for the local population free of charge. 

Read the full story here.

  1. Beirut: The new cat capital of the world?

There is so much love for the endless cats roaming around Beirut. Dozens of strays have made one university campus, west of the city, their home. Every day, they’re fed by Muhammad Barani, who works on campus, and are also given vaccinations and medical care. Beirut also hosts a cat cafe with a stray-only population and should a customer fall for one of its residents, they’re allowed to adopt it! 

Watch this video: Could Beirut soon become the new cat capital of the Middle East?

  1. Gaza sisters spend less on themselves to feed their cats 

In 2018, a story broke out about three kind-hearted sisters in the al-Shati refugee camp in northwestern Gaza city who were fostering 35 street cats in their three separate flats. The girls said that whenever they encountered an injured or hungry kitty in the street, off to their homes it went. According to the siblings, they spend more than $111 per month on cat food; one of the women goes as far as spending less on her own daily expenses in order for the felines to eat. Another sister admitted that she sometimes walks long distances instead of taking a taxi so the cats don’t starve. If that’s not true compassion, we don’t know what is.

Read the sisters’ full story here

  1. The dogs helping UAE kids read

Who thought that dogs could teach children to read? One UAE expat did when she launched Reading Dogs in 2017. The idea is that the canines visit different schools, nurseries and educational centres, where the kids interact with the animals by reading out loud to them. Karalynn Thomson has 22 reading dogs and she also recently launched Happiness Dogs; according to Thomson, “Happiness sessions are 30 minutes in length and take different formats, dictated by the school and the needs of the class or an individual child. This can be anything from a class companion dog to singing with dogs, exam time stress relief, wellbeing sessions or working specifically with Special Educational Needs (SEN) children.”

Find out more about this here.

  1. Animal rescue heroes of the Beirut blast

When the Beirut blast rocked the city in August, dozens of animals were separated from their owners. Thanks to the great efforts of the non-profit organisation Animals Lebanon, many of those lost pets were reunited with their human parents. Rescue workers worked endless hours (including through the night) to make this happen. Respect to them all. 

Watch the reunion video here

If you have a special kindness-to-animals story that you’d like to share with us, please email it to [email protected] and we will share it on our Facebook page. ​


Most Popular