'Not Without My Cats'
It's crazy, we know...I've been really reluctant to
create a fundraiser for this, because there are so many better causes to
donate to, and it feels incredibly lame to ask for money to ship two
cats back home. I'm also very uncomfortable with asking for help,
especially of the financial kind. But we're in quite a bind here, so I'm
swallowing my pride and giving it a go.
Last year, my husband and I adopted two Egyptian kittens off the street in Cairo. Actually, the ginger one (now called Search Engine) adopted me; he ran up my leg and up onto my shoulder, and wouldn't let go!
They didn't take long to get settled in, though, and looked a whole lot better once they'd had a bath.
When we moved to Beirut six months later, we brought them with us - on the actual plane. Seriously - they flew with us in the cabin.
At the time I was on a three-year contract as a reporter here, and we planned to get them slowly back to Australia sometime during that period.
Suddenly in October, however, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which had to be surgically removed a few weeks later. Two weeks after that, my posting in the Middle East was terminated. In December, my husband and I returned to Sydney for Christmas break. Now I'm back in Beirut temporarily, mostly just to organise moving our cats back to Australia. (I've tried looking for someone to adopt them here in Beirut, but haven't had any luck.)
The problem is, Australia has incredibly tough quarantine laws. They won't let us bring the cats directly from Lebanon; they have to go through a 'transit country' for a few months before they can get into Australia.
Through the charity Feline Friends Dubai we've found someone willing to foster Search Engine and Kitty Ponting for a few months in Dubai, which is an approved transit place, and another generous lady who will organise how to get them from Dubai to Sydney.
After committing to this, a series of new expenses have come in. It's all costing an absolute mint.
Basically, it's going to cost around $7,000 all up. If we could just raise half of that amount - $3,500 - we might get away with something short of bankruptcy.
It probably sounds ridiculous that we're going to so much effort for these cats. And of course, we are wondering if we're certifiably insane for trying to do this. But after saving them off the street, we made a commitment to look after these cats for life, and after a year living together in two different countries, they're a part of the family. There are so many animals that end up being dumped in a shelter after an expat goes back home - we can't stand the idea of having to do that with our cats.
If somehow we end up raising more than we require to transport them back, we'll donate all extra funds to the Bin Kitty Collective and Feline Friends Dubai, two animal shelters that find permanent homes for the many abandoned and stray cats in Dubai.
If you can spare a few dollars to help get these little rascals back home to Australia, we'd be so thankful.
Posted by Jess Hill
I can't believe how generous everyone has been. This is such an enormous weight of our shoulders. Thank you so so much.
My ex had a similar situation with a kitten he got off the street in Saudi Arabia. And being a cat person, I can SO understand why you would want to do this. They're you're family. I'll be donating to the cause. May not be much but hopefully will help and I'll spread the word, too. Good on you for doing this, it's just beautiful :)
Please help get these babies home.
No, you are not crazy but great spirits with a very real Heart highly needed in this world! I've been carrying cats by plane as well several times, from Greece to Finland, and will not - definitely - return to Greece without my cats ;) Good luck! It'll be fine.
Thank you so much to the people who've donated, and to those of you who've shared this with your networks. Every donation is so appreciated, and makes us feel that much more supported.