Friday, October 28, 2011

Cats of the Libyan Revolution

The war is over, Libya has been liberated, life is slowly returning to normal. We see less and less freedom fighters on the roads, fewer guns, and a reduced number of checkpoints. 

As I was going to work one day last week the traffic slowed to a crawl and I craned my neck around the truck in front of me, trying to see what was holding up traffic but there was no checkpoint in sight. The traffic continued at a crawl. Suddenly I spotted what was holding us up. In the very centre of the road was a tiny little kitten. Drivers were trying to avoid hitting the poor little thing. As I pulled up next to it I stopped and said to my daughter 'Open the door carefully and go pick it up'. 

My daughter got back in the car with the kitten and exclaimed 'Mom it's so dirty! And her eye is infected' 'Don't worry. We'll get her sorted out later when we get home' I replied. 'Is it male or female?' I asked. 'It's a girl. What should we name her?' my daughter asked and then she started listing off all the names she could think of. 'Wait and see, we'll find a name' I replied.

I only had a few hours of work, my daughter looked after the kitten while she waited for me to finish. When we got home I told my daughter to feed the kitten and let it get used to our house. 

Later I had a look at her. She was filthy and her eye was infected, pus matting all the fur on her face, her eye was sealed shut. I gave her a warm bath, and gently wiped away the dried pus with a clean soft cloth. Then I dried her under the warm air of the hairdryer set to the lowest speed and temperature. Her eye was swollen and I wasn't sure if she even had an eye. I got out some eye ointment that I had in the medicine cabinet and applied it gently. She was so patient and sweet - never made a single complaint.

Our newest addition after we rescued her and gave her a bath.
She's just a little 'ole alleycat. I decided to name her Zenga, the Libyan word for alley which was also made famous during the Libyan uprising - Zenga Zenga! Dar dar! She's the last of the cats we aquired during the Libyan revolution. It seemed fitting to give her the name Zenga. 

Last March at the beginning of NATO's intervention in Libya and 'Odyssey Dawn', the code name for the US operation in Libya, our cat Dawn gave birth to three kittens during a particularly scary air raid; one calico we named Odyssey - my son later gave her to one of the neighbours, a pure black one  named Layla - she later dissapeared, possibly eaten by an owl, and the last a typical striped male that we named Homer after the Greek writer of the famous epic poem The Odyssey.   

Homer's favourite hobby is knocking over coffee mugs. He manages to break a few every week. In the morning he sleeps on my bed where he enjoys the morning sunbeams. The rest of the day he can be found sleeping on top of my computer or draped across the top of the keyboard. 

Homer resting in the sunbeams.


  1. Hi, Teri. Thanks for stopping by my blog and so nice to meet you. I hope you will read back further--I'd especially like your opinion on my post about Libya (TGIF: Dictators Beware). Informed feedback would be useful to me. You spoke of a quilting group in Tripoli and the loss and destruction of all that work--I can only vaguely imagine the amount of loss of property that took place in Libya. Horrendous. I admire your courage for staying through it all.
    best, nadia

  2. I have watched in fascination at the liberation of Libya. We take so much for granted here. Its amazing what gets left over after war & uprising. I am guessing there are also alot of stray dogs too. I hope Zenga's eye heals quickly. She has a kind sweet face. We have just become keepers of a feral kitten called Alistair. He's now decided that my bed is the spot for him too. I look forward to updates about Libya via your blog.

  3. You are *so* wonderful for adopting Zenga! They say that animals know when they are being saved; that is probably why she stayed still while you took care of her eye.

    I'm sorry this is such a silly question ... I just wonder if there are veterinarians in Libya for dogs and cats, especially during this time of rebuild? I love that you are saving these dear sweet souls. I just wonder if there are any vets that could help with any that may have incurred broken legs and such.

    Bless you!

    P.S. I hope you keep us updated of the kitty's progress, including pictures!

  4. From my flat,I heard a cat crying out side,didn't think it was on my door step,till i opened the door,and in walked a small unkept cat about 4 months old,skinny,and hungry.
    So I gave her food,and water ,after she went to sleep,that was about 8 weeks ago,she has had some scirmishes since being with us,she saw my husband off to work one morning down the stairs,and got attacked by dogs,she had 3 very nasty bites so i took her to the vets,and they cleaned the cuts up and bandaged the wounds, thats was about 5 weeks ago,now she is growing and is beautiful and very spoilt .so i know there are more people like me in this world that are silly with animals just like me. thank you for loving them as i do mine.

  5. That's one lucky kitty you rescued and it's wonderful too read people were actually trying to NOT hit er with their cars! So many animals in the world need our help. Zenga's a beautiful name too.

    Homer's gorgeous! Funny about the coffee mugs... I should have known earlier this year... mom and me had spring cleaning and decided that 28 (!) coffee mugs for a household of 2 people really is rather a lot... we gave them to a second hand store, that's run by volunteers. The proceeds go to charity. Next time I find myself having way too many coffee mugs, I'll send them to Homer! ;o)


  6. I'm so glad you were able to save that little kitty. The same thing happened to me almost twenty years ago, but someone ran over the kitten before I could get to it. I pulled over and cried and cried. I'm so glad you were able to save him. i hope his eye gets better. Homer might be deaf. My friend had a cat that knocked over and broke things and he was deaf. Most cats run away when they break something. Does he seem startled or just do it and move along like it's nothing? Clap right by his head when he is sleeping and see if he startles if you want to be sure. There's nothing you can do about it, but it is good to know.

  7. Name Zenga is perfect choice for you kitten :))

    I wish you all the best in new Libya.

    Greetings from Tunisia ♥

  8. What a beautiful kitty - so cute. So fortunate for her that you were there when you were - enjoy her.

  9. Just curious -- heard a rumor the NTC wants to abolish Hair salons , and wedding halls - is this true? Doesn't the Council have bigger fish to fry than women's appearance ??

  10. I liked the pic the moment I saw it on the FB, the story as well was more than enjoyable... Few years back I had my own kitten, indeed they bring so much joy those small gorgeous creatures... Thanks for sharing :)

  11. What a lovely story! Just wanted to ask about those cats, I know the kitten is a stray, but she and Homer have quite large ears. Is that a particular type of cat that is only seen in Libya? I don't even remember seeing any with large ears when I visited my relatives in Tripoli a few years ago. They almost look like wild cats!

  12. It is so nice to read "normal" posts from you again. I know that Libya has a long journey ahead but it is good to have you back online and posting.


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