A Cat Shares with her Family the Agony of Displacement and Bombardment in Idlib
“Lucy” the cat left the family apartment when the family left. She had first arrived more than two years ago when the older brother in the family brought her in. The older brother had now died and his family had left the apartment. Lucy could no longer bear to stay after their departure.
Many creatures have shared the agony of the conditions that their owners live in, the agony of shelling, displacement and siege, but these creatures did not have many options to choose from.
Um Saleh, Lucy’s owner, was not an animal lover and had never had a pet before, although her house was a traditional Arab house with a large patio. However, after being displaced to an agricultural property belonging to a family acquaintance in the countryside of Idlib, she began to feel lonely and bored, so her eldest son brought home a one-month old kitten, who became a great source of diversion for the family.
The attack on Idlib in March 2012 by Assad’s forces caused the displacement of thousands of fighters with their families to agricultural lands near the city, such as “Bruma” and “Jidar Bikaflun”. While some emigrated to Turkey, others preferred to stay in the region for the next three years until the liberation of the city in 2015.
The white cat with yellow and black spots was named “Lucy” by the family and lived with them for two years, giving birth to two kittens. The cats were the family’s consolation in a time of misery.
In the evenings, when Lucy would come in with her catch (a mouse or a bird), she would eat it only inside the two-bedroom house and would often hide it in one of the rooms, which would force the family to clean up after her. Um Salah says that the cat got used to them just as they got used to her.
During bomb raids, Lucy would enter the apartment and hide near a pile of pillows, quilts and blankets. When she became a mother, she would bring her kittens with her and when the kittens got older, would meow to them loudly to call them to hide beside her.
Lucy got used to living with the family. She would even lead the family’s 10 chickens to their shelter at night after she saw Abu Salah doing it, and would then call one of the family members to help her get her kittens so she could play with them in the evening while the family sat together.
When Idlib was freed, the family returned to their house but did not want to leave Lucy in the farm outside the city so they brought her back with them. However, the sounds of heavy shelling and the noise of street traders made her hide away.
The family became worried that she would get ill due to her excessive fear, so they took her back to the area where they had found her. Lucy could not bear to stay after they left. She meowed sadly as they all got into the car and drove away, leaving the farm for the last time.