Saving Katra, a drop in the ocean
Diana and I left the Riad with the idea to have some lunch at Henna Art Café. Now you will see cats in Marrakech, everywhere. The cats don’t get sterilized and so they keep on multiplying, but the local community takes care of cats and treat them with respect. Most cats look dirty, but well fed and some even very healthy and clean. There are even some fatties out there. Something definitely needs to be done, because some cats carry a virus that spreads quickly to the others. No matter how you look at it: there are too many cats.
So, back to the story, not even ten meters away from the front door there are a bunch of cats chilling out in the sun. Right there in the middle there’s this little kitten just about two weeks old, covered in dirt and looking very weak. I can’t help myself and make my way toward this little ball of sticky fur. More up close I can see that one eye half open and the other one is closed and covered with pus. Flees are crawling everywhere. This baby is very sick..
Probably not the smartest thing to do, but somehow I never learn. I pick the kitten up with my bare hands and sneak her back into our room. Together we wash the dirt out of her frizzy hairs, but loads of flees remain. She instantly looks better, but still very far from being healthy. I look at Diana and her ‘I’m not sure what to do’ expression. At that moment I decide to take the kitten with us to lunch and decide our next step along the way. She needs to be helped, no matter what.
Walking with a sick kitten in your hands through the streets of Marrakech was a surprisingly good experience. Where usually man would try to sell you things, people now cared for the little creature and nodded approvingly. Later I learned that in Arabic culture it is a very good deed to take care of cats, or animals in general, and that you gain merits towards god in that way.
Henna Art Café was the perfect place to go. Not just because the Café is beautiful with all the artwork and the owners stand for improving the community around them which is wonderful. The people working there were amazingly helpful and kind towards us and the kitten. They provided us with some milk and when she didn’t drink by herself they brought us a pipet. While nurturing our own bodies with smoothies and an avocado salad (we needed some good nutrition for we also are becoming sick) we looked online for animal rescues or organizations who would be able to help us out.
Unfortunately, everything was closed or didn’t allow cats. We decided that taking a taxi and going to the vet was our only option if we wanted to save her. Finishing our own food we connected with storytellers, artists, people interested in co-creating an animal rescue campaign in Marrakech and a lovely couple from England who overheard us talking and offered us a donation for the cost of the vet.
We were able to reach the vet by telephone and he offered to wait for us. As fast as we could we made our way through the medina. Soon my right flipflop broke and I was walking barefoot. Imagine this image for a moment. A blond girl hurrying through the souks with a sick kitten in her hands and one barefoot. Ignoring all the looks and words shouted to my head while I kept moving forward. Just one quick stop at a souk that sold sandals to get myself a new cheap pair under my feet. Quicker and saver to walk on through the medina for sure!
A few phone calls, angry taxi drivers (oh the competition between the drivers!) and a 15 minute ride later we arrived at the vet outside the medina. Grateful that this man waited for us while his son had to wait for him at school. The poor little girl cried when the man shoved a thermometer into her little bum and injected some clear liquid between her shoulder blades. The doctor tells us that she has a high fever and a very bad virus. She gets pills, cream for her eyes and some more medication to take in. She will be better within a week or two he assures us, but she will need good care.
We are left with the bill for the vet, medicines and baby milk. I start to sweat a little when the man writes down the amount to pay. Honestly, I cannot afford this and the donation we received from the nice couple isn’t nearly enough. If you are friends with me or following me online, you probably know that I stay with local people most of the time and that for the past weeks I have been living on one or two meals in Morocco a day. Which is fine and my own choice, but that doesn’t change the fact that I do not have the financial situation to take care of the kitten AND myself. Even so we pay the bill.
We return that night in Riad le Marocain where we sneak in the kitten again. We have a carton box, a bag full of medicines and baby cat milk. The nurturing begins. We create a little home for the little lady to sleep in and feed her. Surprisingly she is a bit more energetic and she even poops in the corner (outside the box of course). Only later we notice that she also pooped on Diana’s foot and without noticing that ended up on our blankets. So we removed them and slept without. However, before we would sleep our now little baby would have to be named. At first we named her Beethoven, not knowing she is a girl. It’s really challenging to see when they are so young!
I remembered a comment I had received on the picture I uploaded of the bucket in the student building filled with little cats. There was a girl who said ‘in my opinion it’s just a drop in the ocean’. I couldn’t believe that what she wrote was actually her opinion. No wonder things aren’t changing around us. If we all keep this mentality nothing ever will. Every single drop in the ocean counts! A drop is never JUST a drop! I felt sad, yet furious. I wanted to prove her wrong, but calmed down and got back to myself. Now I am grateful for her comment for it has awoken the fire burning inside of me. With this thought I found it a beautiful and strong gesture to name the little kitten ‘Katra’, which means ‘a drop’ in Arabic.
Katra has been going everywhere with us since then. We feed her every 4/5 hours all the way through day and night. She gets her medicines every morning and evening. She has been getting more energetic and her eyes start to open up again. We are not sure about her sight, but we are sure that she sees something as she follows us around whenever we are in the room and she doesn’t want to be in her carton box. She is our baby with two mommies. However, we are travelers without a home. Soon we will have to let her go again and find her a home where she will be loved and taken care of. Until then we make sure that she regains her health and strength.
We might all be a drop in the ocean, but never just a drop. Every drop counts! One drop is connected to all the other drops and together they make the ocean.
*EDIT 18 Oct 2015*
Tears are rolling down my face. The good news is that we found someone who adopted Katra. We are moving towards Taghazout and the little girl is still very weak. Too weak to make the trip with us. Also, on the road it will be very challenging to feed her as we need boiled water to make her milk. Even though letting her go and saying goodbye was difficult and in a way even painful, it’s better for her to stay in Marrakech. I guess the fact that I can never be completely sure that she will be in good hands makes it hard. Will she be loved enough? Will they cuddle her enough? Will she get her medicine and food, even when she is too weak to eat by herself? I feel like a worried mother and I feel sad not knowing how my baby is doing. Just writing this makes me tear up again.
The guy who adopted Katra works at the Henna Art Café. The place where we ended up after just finding her. We provided him with all the medicines she needs and the milk. I gave him all my contact information, since he had nothing online and problems with his phone. He promised to reach out to me as soon as possible. If he doesn’t I will contact his boss at the Henna Art Café *stern look*. Seriously though, I want to know how she is doing and I wish for positive news soon.
*Edit 20 Oct 2015*
– Email – Hi you two, We are so sorry to say that the kitty you left in Abdelliah’s care has died. He feels terrible-he gave the cat its medicine and of course food and water last night but woke this morning to find that it had passed. I guess your help came a bit too late for that poor little kitty. At least it had some comfort the last few days of its short life. Take care you two-and keep on doing wonderful things. Best, Lori
I have no words…
Katra will be remembered in our future actions were we hope to help out whoever needs to be helped. Every drop counts and deserves a chance!
If you want to help us out with the high medical bill we payed for Katra, it would be highly appreciated! You can contact me by mail or in the comment section below. Remember, all drops count. Even a small effort makes a difference.