Monday, February 26, 2024 | Sha'ban 15, 1445 H
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Reflections on 2023 and hopes for 2024

Some sad events made me think of how stray animals either suffer from nature’s cruelty or that of human beings. I pray that 2024 is a peaceful year for all living beings as was 2023 to many
Rasha al Raisi
Rasha al Raisi

Many of my Facebook friends have been thanking 2023 for being a wonderful year.

I feel as I’m missing out on something as mine was just a continuation of a big rollercoaster ride that started in 2021 where downs where more than ups and 2023 was the grand finale; the ride got worst and all I could do was to shut my eyes and wish for the year to end peacefully, which never happened. Instead, it brought so much heartache to Kitzania that started with losing Dudi my ten-year-old cat who had a sudden kidney failure and died instantly. This was followed by another loss of Aliya, my dwarf cat who was one-and-a-half year-old but looked like a four-month-old kitten.

Aliya’s case was rare as whatever she suffered from was a total mystery.

In her short life, Aliya struggled with weight loss as it was hard for her to maintain a healthy weight no matter how much she ate. She had liver issues that when treated she’d gain a little - her highest was 1.8 kgs that dropped slowly after stopping the treatment - and was locked up indoors many times to monitor her food intake and weight gain.

However, she stopped eating and her blood results showed liver failure.

On the day she passed away, Aliya was restless and kept moving from her enclosure to my lap and vice versa while groaning softly. I shed tears of helplessness as all I could was to pat her skinny body comfortingly and pray that her struggle is over soon.

As if this was not enough, within the same period two of my cats were attacked and killed by the dogs. I found the body of one of them and the broken collar of the other.

And while recovering from these heavy losses, I discovered that Naeemo – my eleven-year-old so lady-like cat- was suffering from kidney stones, an incidental finding of an incurable condition.

Now I live on the hope that the stones stay put as its movements means a painful death of the poor dear cat. Weeks later I was handling another bad news: Mujahid - Kitzania’s favourite cat- was suffering from urine crystals that was again incurable but could improve with special diet.

However, Mujahid is a stubborn cat who hates being indoors to eat his special diet which means chasing him around the garden twice-a-day to get him inside to eat.

It’s not an easy task of course as Mujahid is a huge cat and I feel like obsessive Captain Ahab chasing Moby Dick. Thankfully, starting 2024 felt like stepping out of the rollercoaster feeling wobbly and sick, wondering if the ride was worth it at all.

The fourth day of the year brought with it my birthday and a surprise gift: Manoosh my ten-year-old cat who was missing for six months came back with severe kidney failure that meant having to keep him indoors and start him on a pure renal diet while watching him die slowly.

Two days later, my neighbour called to report a shooting that happened in the wadi where I feed the dogs.

One of my female dogs and her puppy were killed instantly while the other puppy was badly injured. I was blinded with panic at the scene and barely found him before rushing to the clinic.

Unfortunately, he died on the way as the bullet went through his lung. These sad events made me think of how stray animals either suffer from nature’s cruelty or that of human beings. I pray that 2024 is a peaceful year for all living beings as was 2023 to many.

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