Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Life in the Green Zone for Stray Cats

Here is a good article by NY Times correspondent John Burns about the lives of stray cats in Baghdad.

Cat populations in the wild expand arithmetically with the supply of food, and ours multiplied rapidly, with as many as two or three litters at a time out in the shrubbery of our gardens, or beneath our water tanks.

Soon, our compound was home to as many as 60 cats at a time, their numbers carefully tallied by Younis and Saif, the enthusiastic young Iraqis who prepared heaped platters of rice and lamb and beef — and, as a special treat, cans of cat food trucked across the desert from Jordan, over highways synonymous with ambushes, kidnappings and bombings. As The Times’s bureau chief, part of my routine was to ask, each night, how many cats we had seated for dinner. In a place where we could do little else to relieve the war’s miseries, the tally became a measure of one small thing we could do to favor life over death. The American military command has a battery of “metrics” to gauge progress, and the nightly headcount of the cats became my personal measure, my mood varying as the numbers went up and down. Sometimes they went sharply down, during winter epidemics of cat flu, or after attacks by the compound’s two dogs (war refugees themselves) that proved, as they grew beyond puppies, to have a feral antipathy to cats programmed in their bones.

No comments:

blog stats