As Syria's war killed thousands of people and displaced many more, a man gave a glimmer of hope for humanity as he worked day and night to create a peaceful sanctuary for cats of the ravaged country.
"If you want to show mercy to people, start by showing mercy to everything else," says Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel who runs Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary, which is named after his own pet cat.
The sanctuary, which was initially in east Aleppo, was destroyed in 2016 bombing. As people started fleeing the cities, there was no hope left for the animals. However, Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel refused to give up on his feline friends. He and fellow feline lovers managed to save 22 of the city's cats by giving each family two cats in a plastic vegetable basket.
Throughout the crisis period, Jaleel was making plans to return to his city and start all over again. Luckily with support from people all over the world, he was able to set up a second shelter in 2017 with18 of the 22 smuggled cats. Name? Ernesto Paradise.
Not only a safe abode, Jaleel provide medical attention to the animals. Mohammad Watar, who brought in his cat after it had food poisoning, was astonished.
"There are no vets where I live. I asked people and they pointed me to the sanctuary," he says. I was so surprised to find this kind of thing existed during this war we're all living," says Watar. I saw them treating all sorts of animals. It's really beautiful," said Watar, as reported by Agence France-Presse.
Other cats there also being treated for their war wounds.
Cats flock to the shelter and no doubt they love it. The cat sanctuary also has a grinder, which churns minced meat that the four-legged creatures absolutely love.
What is more heart-warming is that the once nameless cats, who were deprived of food and shelter, now have names like Lucy, Romeo, Loulou, Foulla, Oliver, and Warda.
Jaleel keeps sharing events that happen in this cat sanctuary with the world. Last year, the house held a birthday party for a local girl and kids played with all the cats and dogs., Also Jaleel found a lost member of the previous cat sanctuary and his happiness knew no bound.
Jaleel used to be fond of cats from his young age. As a young adult, he would ask the butcher to give scraps, which he then used to distribute among the street cats in his neighbourhood.
Check out some pictures here:
Say Hello to our new kitten founded today by the children of the village , they brought him to the house of cats and we immediately started to treat him.— The Aleppo CatMan (@theAleppoCatman) June 1, 2018
Welcome to Ernesto’s ?. #HouseOfCats #ErnestoSanctuary #rescuecat #SyrianAnimals #KittenFromAleppo @theAleppoCatman pic.twitter.com/jbzJKZmow8
Today we found this puppy in a barrel of diesel alone and in very bad condition ,we washed, fed, secured.— The Aleppo CatMan (@theAleppoCatman) May 31, 2018
We wish him a healthy and long life.
Maybe this is a sign of destiny and he will be a good friend of Amira.
in the next days we will present them each other . pic.twitter.com/Y3zPqhreqp
We have a very bad news ?— The Aleppo CatMan (@theAleppoCatman) May 30, 2018
Our sweet kitten Junior is dead .
We still hurt and upset because we can not stop the mortality of some animals in Syria .
Rest In Peace Jr .
We are worry about the poor Amira now .
Here we explain some details ???https://t.co/Ja8KBgjteW pic.twitter.com/XJM00u3bmH