In 2017, I spent three months travelling around Morocco, the land of teapots and tagines. For one of those months, I decided to experience “living” in Morocco and stayed in the port city of Tangier.
Tangier, the gateway to Africa and beyond, is an incredible city full of history and culture. The main attraction is the Medina, the name of the oldest part of the town. As Tangier lies on the Mediterranean coast, the city is blessed with areas of natural beauty including many small coves and deserted beaches.
One day, I found myself on the long walk back along the coast after visiting a deserted beach an hour away. Too young to have an awareness of the danger of his surroundings, I spotted this little kitten on the opposite side of the dual carriageway and watched, as he took a wobbly step off the curb into the road.
I nearly killed myself, as I darted across the road, in between cars honking their horns, and scooped him up before he met his demise.
Like many countries in this neck of the woods, the streets are full of cats living wild and free, and it’s usual to see mama cats with kittens everywhere.
As I looked around, I realised his family were nowhere to be seen. Indeed, the wild cats usually stay around the Medina; as there are more opportunities to find food. I’m guessing that someone picked him up and dumped him, as he was too little to have gone on a wander on his own.
It was time to find him a new home.
As I walked back to the Medina, I asked every person I saw if they could point me in the direction of an animal rescue place. Every one of them said, “There’s too many of them,” but I wasn’t going to put him down until I knew he was safe.
So, we had an afternoon together, as he came for lunch and coffee with a friend. I continued to ask if there was a rescue centre only to receive the same reply. “We understand you want to save him but there are just too many”.
As evening approached, I realised I was going to have to sneak him into my room, if needed, until one kind gentleman told of me of a rescue centre not far away.
My little friend and I set off to find him his new home, through the hustle and bustle of the Medina, and out into the streets beyond.
Upon arriving at the centre, the staff member who opened the door rolled their eyebrows and said “Another one” as they led me into a room with at least 200 kittens staring back at me. All well looked after, I might add.
After placing him down on the ground and speaking to the staff for a couple of minutes, I turned to take one final look. He’d disappeared. I couldn’t tell the kittens apart.
As I walked back to the Medina, I thought to myself, ‘Is it futile?’ and immediately thought no. Everything has a purpose and every little life matters. This little kitten reconnected me to protecting animals as a whole and not just my pets. He was one of a number of experiences that became the catalyst to adopting a vegan lifestyle for the animals, first and foremost.
As I encourage the people around me to do the same, this kitten and my experiences in Morocco, as a whole, fundamentally changed me forever.
Everything has a purpose and every little life matters, my friends.
(c) Samantha Wilson 2019. All Rights Reserved.