Cats after the war

This photo from the Haifa-based Israeli Cat-Lovers Society is an interesting juxtaposition of cats and the recent war:

In Lebanon, BETA continues its work in the suburbs of Beirut:

We stayed with them and we will never leave them. They are those who cannot speak, those who cannot comprehend what is happening around them, those who never had anything to do with this war, and those who were left behind.

While this forum and others have referenced efforts to rescue and care for pets on both sides of the conflict, the following AP article suggests that there is little or no cooperation between groups on either side:

More, the Israeli animal rescuer, said her group [Ahava] had contacted BETA to offer assistance in evacuating animals, “but they are not interested in being in touch with us.''…She said Ahava has proposed meeting fleeing Lebanese in boats in international waters to collect their pets. “Believe me, dogs and cats in Lebanon don't see themselves as political animals. They just want to leave.''

El-Massih said BETA was never contacted by the Israeli animal rights group, although it did receive a sympathy e-mail from a former member of Ahava who now lives in the United States.

If true, this is another sad development in the erosion of civil society amid the tribalism that dominates the Middle East and elsewhere…

another cat from Lebanon

From AFP: a kitty amidst the rubble in a fishing port south of Beirut. This is essentially the type of image I see in my mind when I think about the situation, or cats in war more generally. It was part of an AFP article that Yahoo! syndicated for their main news page covering the middle east conflict today, right under the news that the Lebanese PM had rejected the cease-fire deal.

I haven't seen or received any updates from BETA or the groups in Israel since my previous article, I will certainly post anything that I receive.

Update on cats in war

This is a follow-up to my previous posts about cats in Israel and Lebanon.

First, the following update from BETA in Lebanon:

On the 28th of July, BETA team re-entered the Beirut southern suburbs (one of the war zones) to feed the stray and abandoned pets. On the way, we encountered an abandoned pet shop and were able to retrieve some of the surviving animals – four cats and one puppy .

On the 2nd of August, and for the third time, BETA team, accompanied by a PETA representative who came all the way to Beirut to help our animals, have been able to enter that same area. Again, we put food and water for the strays and fed the rest of the animals at the abandoned pet shop -pigeons, birds, and turtles- We will come back to pick them up as soon as the pet shop owner unlock the cages.

We also visited the small zoo and made sure that the worker is still there feeding the remaining animals.

People are working to help cats and other animals left behind during the evacuations and attacks in northern Israel as well. A reader of this forum responded with the following information about current situation and the groups active there:

Bashan Shelter is located in Israel near the Lebanese border. They are
taking in animals abandonned by people who fled south in search of safety.
At great risk to their own personal safety they are also making the rounds
surrounding communities distributing food and water to the animals that
remain behind and to people also. This totally volunteer organization has
no income outside private donations.
liz at

Haifa SPCA is taking in large numbers of animal war refugees and like with
the above organization their expenses are growing while their income has
almost stopped. Contact info at
hspca at … ;orgid=149

Israel Cat Lovers Society is located in the Haifa area. They have been
affected by the war situation here as many pet owners or homeless cats
feeders fled towards the center of Israel leavingthe animals in horrible
conditions. As so we are in great need of fosterhomes for kittens and
massive food donations as well.

Yes, I am partial to kitties that look like Luna…

One of the things that struck me, in addition to the photographs of the animals and the people with them, was the reference to “civil society” among the resources. I fear the civil society on both sides of the border is one the things in danger in this conflict, and indeed in other conflicts as well. The Civil Society of Haifa describes their mission as “to ensure and further participation, solidarity, tolerance, social mobility, basic human rights and honesty [as] a goal that can contribute to the general welfare of all members of society,” including in this case our small and furry members of society. Sadly, such goals seem quite lost in the tribalism, fear and focus on base needs and emotions that seems to dominate much of the fighting in the Middle East and elsewhere…

Cats in Lebanon

Tiger is a cute orange-striped cat looking for a nice home.

What makes his story different from a typical cat-adoption ad on on a blog is that Tiger is in Lebanon. Politically, I am generally supportive of Israel and have relatives in Haifa, but nothing makes one feel for the people on the “other side” in a war quite like stories of animals and children and the people who care for them. (I guess I find it true for stories about artists and musicians, too, but I'll save that for another post). Consider the otherwise happy story of Barbara and Fluffy and the “amazing girl” who adopted them. She could be the model of my own ideal child. One can only hope that neither she nor her cats have suffered during the attacks on Beirut.

I also read about a program at the American University of Beirut (AUB) where students care for the many cats that roam the campus, providing food, shelter, health care and positive human interaction, and discouraging their fellow students from abusing the cats.

The author of the article, Hania Jurdak, expresses an articulate ideal about caring for the animals even as “some human rights are ignored.”

I doubt relatively liberal AUB is much of a Hezbollah stronghold, so would hope it escapes any attacks on the city. I haven't seen a lot of news concerning AUB during the current fighting, aside from evacuations and the university hospital being a primary center for treating the sick and wounded. Those operating animal shelters in Beirut and conducting rescues do find themselves closer to the neighborhoods that have seem much of the bombing, including the southern suburbs.

I enourage cat and animal lovers to check out these and other articles at for a sympathetic look at people (and their animal friends) in war outside of the usual political and ideological shouting on both sides. Over the next few days, I will try to post cat-related resources from other sides of the multiple Middle-East conflicts.