'Cat Man of Aleppo' opens up another feline shelter after first one is destroyed by air strikes

A Syrian ambulance driver, also known as the 'Cat Man of Aleppo', has opened up another shelter for homeless cats after the previous one was destroyed in a series of aerial bombings.

FP Staff August 08, 2019 13:29:48 IST
'Cat Man of Aleppo' opens up another feline shelter after first one is destroyed by air strikes
  • A Syrian ambulance driver, also known as the 'Cat Man of Aleppo', has opened up another shelter for homeless cats after the previous one was destroyed in a series of aerial bombings

  • 44-year-old Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel continues to take care of the homeless cats in the war-torn country

  • The shelter has also expanded the sanctuary to include an orphanage and kindergarten. The cat house of Aleppo has been the bright spot in a traumatized city

A Syrian ambulance driver, also known as the 'Cat Man of Aleppo', has opened up another shelter for homeless cats after the previous one was destroyed in a series of aerial bombings.

44-year-old Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel continues to take care of the homeless cats in the war-torn country.

Cat Man of Aleppo opens up another feline shelter after first one is destroyed by air strikes

The Cat Man of Aleppo. Image Courtesy: Website of House of Cats Ernesto

In 2011, when the war in Syria began, many people fled Aleppo, fearing their safety and their lives. But Alaa stayed back in the city and continued to look after the hundreds of stray cats, and pets left behind by families. By 2016, he had over 170 cats to feed, and hence, he got the name 'Cat Man of Aleppo'.

He always loved cats since he was a child and as a teen, he would drop by the butchers on his way back from work as an electrician and would ask for the leftover scraps of meat to feed the cats in his neighbourhood.

When war broke out, he put down his tools to become an ambulance driver to help ferry the wounded — but never stopped bringing food to his feline friends.

Along with friends, family and social media fans' donations, he set up his first cat sanctuary. But in late 2016, it was bombed and gassed during the final stages of the siege of the Syrian city. A majority of his 170 cats were either lost or killed.

After the bombings, Alaa posted a video on his Facebook page, saying goodbye to the supporters. He said he was sorry that he let everyone down, and did not know how if he would survive. He left the city, but shortly came back and found another place to build the cat shelter.

Now, nearly two-and-a-half years later — after he was forced from one Aleppo district to another — he has opened another sanctuary in Kafr Naha, a village in the opposition-held countryside west of Aleppo. It is named after his favourite furry friend, Ernesto.

He brings in any abandoned cats to the shelter, which is also an animal clinic and has its own in-house vet. It is funded by crowdfunding campaigns. He created a Facebook page for the project, which is also how a lot of other people are aware of it. The page now has nearly 50,000 visitors.

The shelter has also expanded the sanctuary to include an orphanage and kindergarten. The cat house of Aleppo has been the bright spot in a traumatized city.

Together with the veterinarian, Mohammad Youssef, he works full time for over 200 cats. He also takes care of a horse, doves, rabbits, and several dogs living on the railing four monkeys.

The website of the institution says that the war is never far away from their sanctuary, and Syria is a country in violent turmoil, but they will carry on with their mission of improving the lives of so many forgotten victims of war, the animals, and improve their future.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.