Cairo authorities poisoned domesticated stray cat who mixed with Film Festival celebrities

NEWS AND COMMENT: a calico (tortoiseshell-and-white), fully domesticated community cat who lived with her kittens in the area around the Cairo Opera House has been poisoned with her kittens by the authorities because the Opera House complained about them. This was a cute and charming, effectively domestic cat, who interacted with film stars at the Cairo Film Festival earlier and the celebrities loved it. She had been dubbed "Festival Cat". It is the kind of thing that happens sometimes when cats wander off the street and judging by the photographs it seems that this cat enhanced the event. It gave the cameramen something to focus on.

Cairo authorities poison domesticated stray cat who mixed with Film Festival celebrities
Cairo authorities poison domesticated stray cat who mixed with Film Festival celebrities. This is Festival Cat who was poisoned together with her kittens.

And in Cairo they have quite a lot of street cats which are better described as 'community cats' because they are domesticated. But the authorities don't like them and neither apparently does the Opera House. They lower the tone, I guess. Conversely, the citizens have a much more tender approach to these animals and once they'd learned about the "murder" of this cat and her kittens they were outraged and protested. They posted messages on the Opera House's Facebook page. I believe that these posts have been deleted quite quickly because I can't find them.

The point is this though that a single vulnerable calico cat on the streets of Cairo is nothing to the authorities. She was 'just a cat' and they can be dispatched; culled in an expedient way without compunction or conscience. It is the people who have a conscience. And what is particularly mindless about this event is that another cat will no doubt move into the vacant space that was once occupied by "Festival Cat".

So, the activities of the authorities in this regard were mindless and cruel. The animal welfare laws of Egypt allow them to kill stray cats like this. It is entirely legal in that country. Although they can't kill domestic cats. I don't think that that is a particularly wonderful thing because if the authorities killed domestic cats, they will be destroying someone's property and engaging in criminality.

And this "murder" of a charming community cat brings to mind what we are taught, namely the veneration of the cat by ancient Egyptians thousand years ago. They worshipped cat gods such as Bastet and the impression is that it was a golden era for domestic cats. But was it? You might not be aware that commercial enterprises bred and killed hundreds of thousands of kittens and then mummified them to be offered up as sacrifices to the gods. This cannot be described as an example of the activities of cat lovers. It seems to me that the attitude of the elite in Egypt regarding cats was the same then as it is now: rather callous, self-indulgent and careless but not loving except for many individuals, citizens of Egypt who clearly are concerned and want to see animal welfare laws improved in their country.

Last February, the national administrative court in Egypt rejected a lawsuit by animal rights activists to stop the killing of stray cats. Once again, this highlights the disconnect between the authorities and the people of that country on the issue of animal welfare.

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