Last Friday night I received a call from a friend of mine asking if I liked cats. I answered I did, though have never had one because I have never settled anywhere for more than a few years. He then asked if I would be able to look after a Finnish friend’s cat for a few weeks. I checked with my flatmate (who said it would be fine as long as I looked after it!) so I agreed.
He answered he would be around in 20 minutes!
We got rather stressed about how we were going to cope with a cat in a flat, on the 9th floor, in the slowly approaching cold, winter. Lulu arrived and seemed quite at home straight away!
Thinking about the number of cats who roam the streets of Plymouth, it always surprises me in other countries where this is not the case. In Kuwait, the only cats on the street were feral street cats. I had always been told how clean cats were. I now know that this is not the case when they live in bins and live in the desert.
Many of my colleagues rescued cats off the street, cleaning and vaccinating them. There was also an animal rescue centre, which saved all sorts of animals from donkeys to cats.
There were actually few stray dogs in Kuwait as they had been eradicated after the war. My colleague went along to the shelter and chose a dog to take back to the UK. Bringing it home and taking it out for walks at night she realised that Kuwait wasn’t the most animal friendly of places and kept it in the flat after that!
In Astana, you rarely see people out walking dogs, and if you do the dogs are wearing little coats and boots! The majority of the time I see stray dogs roaming the building sites of the city, or indeed, the riverbank, where I was chased by a feral dog back in April during the triathlon!
Dogs are also kept as guard dogs here in gardens but I am yet to see a cat wandering the streets. Perhaps this is because I am surrounded by blocks of flats in the city or the, very soon to be, temperatures of -40C, meaning all the house cats are kept inside. It seems quite unfair on the animal, though I know a few friends in the UK who won’t let their cats out.
There is an animal rescue centre near Astana, Inucobo, which is run by volunteers, but this is something I have only just heard about in this city.
In Almaty, and in Kuwait in fact, a number of colleagues rescued kittens off the street, and as it turns it, Lulu was also saved from a life roaming the frozen streets of the city. Luckily, I discovered, she had had all her vaccinations and even got chipped! Since getting her, we are having to move house so I am now hoping that my friend returns in time, so that I do not have to contact the Astana centre.