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"It is the journey which makes up your life."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Oh no! I got the Rabies!

In light of my recent rabiesification, I thought I'd do a little post in honor of the feral kitties that we here at AUC know and love. (FYI, none of the cats that appear here were the one that forced me to become extremely familiar with the Vacsera medical facilites).

Cats are everywhere in Egypt, and so far as I can tell, few to none of them are actually "owned," and even fewer are "owned" in the sense that pet cats are owned in most of the Western world. Most of them dig through garbage or beg for scraps, though a few are habitually fed by kindhearted people. None of them are fixed, so there are kittens everywhere; how long any of them survive, however, is not terribly certain.

The cats on campus have very distinct personalities, and most of them are named... though the ones that people don't like tend to get named earlier and more often. Several of just such cats don't appear here (they tend to be a bit lower in the campus territory cat ranking and get driven off more often... hence, harder to take photos), but with names like "Yucky" and "Stupid," you can guess how beloved they are.

One particular favorite (and I'm serious) on campus is named "Fatso," or, alternately, "Nimmer". Fatso is the queen of her little corner of AUC. She's one of the least damaged, one of the more well-fed, and amazingly, one of the most affectionate. I have my suspicions that this particular cat may have once been actually owned, but it does seem to be the case that cats living in a situation such as that at AUC tend to be far more affectionate than domestic cats because they've learned that mewing cutely and allowing themselves to be petted tends to get them more food.

Another well-known cat on campus is named "Vampire." From the photo you might be able to tell exactly how such a name was acquired. True to his name, Vampire keeps to himself, hides in the shadows, and doesn't like people much.

The third most distinct cat-personality on campus is called "Ogre". Ogre is about the saddest kitty ever, and shows very plainly the drawbacks of a feral life. She's tiny and malnourished, and at some point during the semester was hit by a car, leaving her with a broken jaw and badly injured mouth. After this she became even smaller and more malnourished because she couldn't eat properly, and extremely filthy because with an immobile tongue, she couldn't clean herself. Sadly, she's also one of the sweeter kitties on campus, and had to learn that after her accident most people just didn't feel her affections were terribly welcome anymore.

Other popular kitties live in the dorm, located in faraway Zamalek. One (I couldn't get a photo of her because she was very pregnant and off in hiding) was named "Mango" by several dorm residents. She is the prettiest (probably purebred) Mau I'd ever seen, and was tolerant if not openly affectionate. She'd had another litter of kittens earlier in the semester, one of whom she allowed to live in the dorm lobby with her even after he'd grown large enough to fend for himself.

Her son's name was "Custer," or, according to others, "Mr. Skitters." Custer is also an extremely attractive cat, gray and white instead of Mau brown, but with his mother's distinct spot pattern still visible--particularly on his face. Custer is fickle, but likes to play with anyone who's willing, and is extremely jealous of the attention given to the latest addition to the dorm cat family, a litter of black and white kittens, mothered by an affectionate black and white cat who lives in the planter near the dorm's front entrance.

They're all very cute cats, all of whom would be comsidered very adoptable in a place where it was culturally normal to own cats.

I've considered sneaking a few of them home in my luggage with me, but somehow I didn't think they'd do too well given my further travel plans. If any of you out there would like to help out some of Cairo's kitties, I would refer you to here. Like I said: just about the sweetest cats in existance, and meh, if I can take a few jabs, you can too.


Anonymous anna said...

KITTIES!! =D Wait, you got the rabies??

6:41 PM

Blogger Kat said...

Yep. Well, maybe. Actually, probably not, but I got the vaccine shots anyway just to be on the safe side.

I got bit by a feral cat that I didn't know too well on one of the campuses I didn't frequent, and since I wasn't able to observe it for weird behavior, I just ponied up all of $15 plus $2 for cab fare four times in a row. 'Twas jabtastic.

12:09 AM


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