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"The Feral Cats of Amman" by Lindsey McGuire

"The Feral Cats of Amman" by Lindsey McGuire

Everywhere you go in Amman, there seems to be a cat (or bisseh as they say in the Jordanian dialect of Arabic) never more than a few feet away, silently watching.

I feel like someone’s always watching me… Photo credit: L. McGuire, 2018

My first few days in Amman, it was a little overwhelming to be surrounded by so many feral cats and to be unable to do anything to help them. The cats truly are everywhere. They tend to collect into small packs around dumpsters and appear in abundance at night. You’ll find them darting out from behind Roman ruins or lounging on a house’s front steps everywhere you go. Or this cat, hanging out under the Abdoun bridge. Photo credit: L. McGuire, 2018

To illustrate how prevalent cats are in Jordan, here is what a typical day of cat-sightings looks like. While studying in the AMIDEAST library, a group of four incredibly adorable calico kittens strolled past the window as their mom looked on from a distance. Later on while walking in the Weibdeh neighborhood of Amman, I passed a couple eating on the patio outside a restaurant. A large grey cat was perched on a ledge barely a foot away, staring at their food while the man laughed and wiggled his fingers at it. And to conclude my cat-filled day, two tiny kittens (probably not much older than three weeks) wobbled out from behind a streetlight as I made my way back to my apartment. As I paused to gasp at their adorableness, another cat appeared from underneath a parked car and the kitten’s mother slinked out from behind the streetlight to observe. Photo credit: L. McGuire, 2018

To learn more about the cats that call Amman home, I’ve joined a few animal rescue Facebook groups based in the city. From what has been posted in English and the things I’ve been able to translate, there are many amazing people working hard to find foster homes or adopters for the cats (and dogs) of Amman. They crowdfund money to treat injured animals or even fly animals out of the country to adopters around the world. Photo credit: L. McGuire, 2018

It’s hard to imagine Amman without the thousands of outdoor cats that call it home – even as I type this, a cat is loudly meowing outside my apartment window. As the city continues to change and the local rescue organizations grow, the lives of the cats of Amman may change. For now, I’m just glad they’re here. Photo credit: L. McGuire, 2018

AMIDEAST Fall 2018 Photo Contest!

AMIDEAST Fall 2018 Photo Contest!

"Adventures in the Altas Mountains" by Jaycee Miller and Gwenyth Szabo

"Adventures in the Altas Mountains" by Jaycee Miller and Gwenyth Szabo