“People who do not have enough to give are the most generous lot”
This would go well for the Syrian “cat man who has opened up his home to shelter the stray cats of the war-torn Aleppo. Aljaleel popularly known as the “Cat Man of Aleppo” cares for his feline friends, protecting, feeding and keeping them as healthy as possible.
Though most of the Syrian families fled Syria, 42 year old Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, chose to remain and take care of the less fortunate felines affected by the war.
“I’ll stay with them no matter what happens. Someone who has mercy in their heart for humans, has mercy for every living thing,” said Aljaleel.
In the beginning, Aljaleel had six or seven hungry felines, but soon the number grew to 170 in no time, where he built a sanctuary in 2015 and named it after his first cat “Ernesto’s House.”
Although cats had the major share of Aljaleel’s care, children were also recipients of his kindness, as he used to open his house to schoolchildren who came to visit the sanctuary.
“All the schools and the children used to come and visit the sanctuary,” he said. “They would see the huge amount of cats that were left behind by their owners.”
The families though they were forced to flee Syria, made sure to hand over their beloved pets to safe hands.
However, Ernesto’s House was also targeted by bombs, which hit his town in November turning it into rubble, and most of his cats perished and was forced to flee with the surviving pets.
Aljaleel was stubborn enough to let go of his feline friends and decided to start a new sanctuary from scratch and opened up a new home within 15 days at the countryside, West Aleppo.
According to NBC News, some people in Spain and the United States have donated money and started fundraising campaigns to help him out with his new sanctuary.
However, too much love towards his feline friends proved havoc for his personal life as he ended up separating from his wife as the pressure grew between due to the result of his endeavor. His and two children resides now in Turkey.
“I hope my children one day will understand what their father was doing,” Aljaleel said. “And that the world will repay them with the same kindness and mercy I’ve given to these animals and humans in need.”
His new shelter now has 25 cats which is more of a house than a sanctuary of cats. “It seeks to erase the war from children’s minds,” he said. “Caring for the cats is a gateway to bringing good will to the country and build it around being more merciful.”