Two different friends sent me the url to this story about cats in Iraq, and it took me two or three days to realize I should write about it on my blog. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/weekinreview/14burns.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
I don’t have much to say about it. It’s basically an account by a journalist in Iraq of feeding stray cats and looking out for their welfare.
The troops in Iraq are supposed to steer clear of dogs and cats and rats* in Iraq due to the zoonotic disease Leishmaniasis. The soldiers nicknamed the disease the “Baghdad boil.” Over 650 soldiers who served in Iraq have come down with the disease. Much as I like puppies and kittehs, I think the wise course of action during the course of the war is to stay away from the animals unless they are your pampered family pets with up-to-date shots, etc.
When I first heard of Leishmaniasis I thought it was an example of a merging of an English word with an Iraqi Arabic word, since laysh means “why?” in Iraqi dialect. No, it’s just a disease named after a guy named Leishman.
Here’s a website about Leishmaniasis that seems to be targeted specifically at soldiers who served in Iraq: http://www.leishmaniasis.us/ There’s a lot of information there.
If you like pictures of things that are gross, look here for a picture of someone suffering from Leishmaniasis: http://www.stanford.edu/class/humbio103/ParaSites2006/Leishmaniasis/images/multiple.jpg
Here’s the blog of an Iraqi teenager who left Iraq reluctantly in 2006. She posts cat pictures almost every day: http://baghdadgirl.blogspot.com/
And to wrap it all up, here’s a pretty picture of an adorable cat:
*In point of fact, I think they kill them.