Three months ago, on my way home driving on the 18th of November Street, I stopped at the traffic lights. While waiting for the red lights to go green, I turned my head to the pavement on my left that separates the two roads and noticed a tiny black kitten.
The kitten had her legs splayed, as if her back was broken, and wasn’t moving. Instinctively, I switched on the hazard warning lights and within seconds, I managed to get off the car, grab the kitten and put her on the passenger seat before the lights turn green.
The kitten crawled under the seat using her forearms which confirmed my doubts that she might have a broken back and needed to be put down. It was Thursday already and there were no appointments available in the clinic till Saturday.
I decided to keep her in the guest’s bathroom (or what Sham the helper called: the cat’s hospital). Reaching home, it took some time to pull her out from under the passenger’s seat. The kitten was wild and hasn’t been in contact with humans before. There was still some movement in her legs as if skidding and her tail were tucked between them.
I prepared a litter box for her and left it along with some water and dry food, deciding to check on her later. I called her Sharah, a colloquial Arabic word for traffic light where I exactly found her. She was one and a half months old with a special feature: black whiskers with a lone white one.
While checking on her in the afternoon, Sharah was hiding under the shelves and hissing. She had used her dry food as a litter box and left the latter clean. It took her two days to realize which of the two to consume and which to use as a toilet.
When Saturday came, the vet announced that her weird gait was due to being wedged in a narrow space and managing to pull herself out. Her back was fine and all she needed was some time to heal.
Sharah proved to be very difficult to tame. I tried the usual tricks to domesticate her but nothing worked. She kept hissing and hiding whenever she saw me.
However, things changed when she had to share her space with another 3 kitten siblings with a condition known as fading kitten syndrome; kittens got sick and died for an unknown reason. Only one of the siblings- Najah- managed to survive after therapy and a fattening diet that consisted of rice and chicken skin.
He and Sharah became friends, and that was the first time she allowed me to pet her. After almost a month of being locked up, I decided that both kittens were ready to be released into Kitzania.
Najah adapted within hours while Sharah panicked and went straightaway to hide under Mom’s car. Fortunately, being surrounded by unfamiliar cats made Sharah perceive me as her only friend and allow me to pick her up and move her closer to food. I then started carrying her in the crook of my arm like a fancy bag, while walking around the garden to check on the Kitzanians.
Sharah enjoyed the experience thoroughly and felt as if she was on a magic carpet ride; watching everyone from above and flipping upside-down for a more interesting view. Now that she has grown in size, my arm gets tired from carrying her, but I do it anyway. She’d finally blended in and made few friends. Welcome to Kitzania miraculous Sharo! It’s good to have you here!
Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer
and the author of: The World According to Bahja. firstname.lastname@example.org