History repeats itself

It's kitten season in Cairo.

Cairo is a city of 20 million people and 20 billion cats [I counted]. When I decided to get an apartment with a backyard, I unknowingly adopted a family of cats as well.

There is a humorous assortment of abandoned furniture in my backyard, and the other day I was sitting in my living room, smoking no doubt, when I heard frenzied mewing coming from outside. I rushed to my backyard, and discovered a litter of kittens milling about the base of an old dresser on unsteady little legs. Since then, I have been the vigilant protector of the kittens, most notably acting like a ridiculous white girl waving my arms and yelling to keep away the evil, gigantic, kitty-hungry crows who live in my backyard tree and frequently inch up to the kittens trying to look inconspicuous and un-hungry, much like a stranger in a car offering a 3rd grader candy.

Last night I decided the best way to send off my two best friends would be to have a small get-together at my apartment. After a few frenzied shopping trips, four of us arrived in Dokki piled down with beer, Kahlua, ID vodka, milk, and aluminum foil [or "silver paper"..Egyptians get straight to the point when they name things, don't they?] for my brand new shisha. As soon as we opened my apartment door, I heard an urgent mewing from the backyard. Called again to serve and protect, I grabbed Megan and sprinted to the backyard. But this kitten was not in the dresser, or anywhere around in it. After playing a bizarre interspecies game of Marco Polo, I was led to an old cardboard box on the opposite side of the yard from the dresser. Inside was a tiny white kitten, one of the adorable babies I have spent the past week protecting. In true Cairo alley-cat style, it was dirty beyond belief, so much so that its little eyes were crusted shut. Because I have little to no self control, I scooped the pathetic little thing up.

Upon further investigation, it seemed the [utterly negligent] mother cat and the other kittens had disappeared from the backyard completely.

So the little kitten set adrift in a tattered box came inside. We named him Moses.

After spending several hours musing over how he possibly could have gotten into the box by himself, trying to keep him warm, and Googling furiously, we realized we had no way to keep Moses alive. Kitten formula? Pshh. This is Cairo. Eyedropper? You might as well ask for a teleporter [which, coincidentally, I have asked for on several occasions since moving to this side of the world..] in this city. Tears sprang to my eyes as the realization dawned on me: Moses was a runt, and had been abandoned, and there was nothing I could do to help him. Sipping on my beer and taking a drag of shisha, I tried desperately to think of something we could do with him.

Just as all hope seemed lost, a scratching on my living room door alerted us to the reappearrance of Mother Cat, who will henceforth be known as Dina Lohan. Quickly, we raced outside with Moses and pushed him under the dresser, crossed our fingers, said a prayer that Dina Lohan would take him back, and went back to sipping our beer with our ears open should tiny Moses call us.

Two hours later, his tiny mews pulled me from my shisha stupor and all four of us bolted to the back door. There was Moses, toddling around by the dresser with his sister as Dina Lohan looked on from a few feet away. Relief flooded me, and I sent up a silent "thank you" to Bast [Google it; this is Egypt, people] and returned to the living room with my beer.

"Well, this was certainly not on par with our wild nights in Cairo..taking care of an orphaned kitten is hardly the appropriate sendoff, is it?" Said Megan as I hugged her goodbye for what turned out to be one of the last times as she picked up her things to go shortly thereafter.

Wiping away a tear and hugging the other two hard, holding on to the smell and the feel of them for as long as I could before they vanished into the dusty night, I looked at Megan and let out a tiny laugh, "It's the most appropriate ending there's ever been. Moses came to lead you out of Egypt."

It's very nice to just wander
The camel route to Iraq
It's oh so nice to just wander
But it's so much nicer, yes it's oh so nice, to wander back

Dooler, Frankie, Megan, and Becky, I love you all. Thank you for being such strong, inspiring women, each in your own way, and helping me to grow and learn so much this year. Know you always have a home in Cairo.

[Welcome to all of my new readers who found their way here via Yes and Yes!]

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