Junior the cat saw Amira the dog and decided she wanted her to be her mother — and she wasn’t willing to take no as an answer.
Amira is a stray dog that lives near Il Gattaro d’Aleppo (“The Cat Man of Aleppo”), a well-known cat shelter in Syria’s war-torn city. Mohammad Alaa Jaleel (known as Alaa), the sanctuary’s creator, has been trying his best to care for Amira, but he can’t let her dwell among the 80 cats that call Il Gattaro d’Aleppo home for safety concerns.
When Alaa found out Amira was pregnant, he invited her to stay in his room until it was time for her to give birth, in the hopes of providing her with some comfort.
When Amira went into labor, however, tragedy struck: none of the puppies survived.
Alaa’s friend Alessandra Abidin, who administers the Il Gattaro d’Aleppo Facebook page from her home in Italy, told The Dodo, “We were sorry and surprised for her, and we gave her a plush teddy bear to hold since she was really sad.”
Junior immediately became a part of the sanctuary’s community, getting to know the numerous cats who call it home. She also saw Amira, who normally hangs around outside the sanctuary entrance, and one of Amira’s stuffed animals.
She saw the dog’s teddy bear and approached her carefully to play with it,” Abidin explained.
Amira seemed unconcerned, even allowing Junior to crawl on top of her.
“They were all discovered together,” Abidin explained. “And the kitty was riding her [Amira], and she’s well now.” She even appeared to be smiling.”
Amira comes to Il Gattaro d’Aleppo multiple times a week, and Junior greets her each time. Junior may be a different species and smaller, but Amira has come to like her — and the affection is definitely reciprocated. They play together, eat together, and take naps together.
“We named her Amira, which means princess in Arabic, since she is a princess to us because of her pure soul,” Abidin explained.