Abo Zeid is a simple man, working as a porter in a Heliopolis building. However there is more to this man than meets the eye; In his humble room at the entrance of the building, he doesn’t live alone, but with his 40 cats. By caring for those helpless street animals, Abo Zeid shows a beautiful side of Egyptians, a side we don’t often see anymore.
“I have been taking care of cats for 40 years now!”
As we enter his room, we instantly feel the love. His cats rush to him, rubbing against him and we hear welcoming, grateful purrs everywhere! We sit amongst the cats and chit chat with Abo Zeid about his life and love for animals. It all started quite naturally for him, “I have always loved animals, even as a child we always had pets around”, he tells, “I have been taking care of cats for 40 years now!”
Egyptians’ treatment for animals hasn’t been the most proper recently, at least the majority of the time. Abo Zeid’s opinion on that – especially the recent dog shooting in Alexandria – is quite strong, “what happened in Alexandria is shameful, to kill innocent animals for no reason shouldn’t happen”, he tells, “but people don’t really care, they just think it’s another dog in the street, it doesn’t matter”.
Abo Zeid doesn’t discriminate against the animals he rescues. In fact, he has cats with different problems, some are blind, while others have gone through malnutrition, but he does everything he can to help them, even if others don’t understand, “most people around me aren’t friendly to animals, being kind to animals is something God asked us to do”, he explains, “I see kids in the street using kittens as a football, and other porters filling the street with poison to kill the cats and dogs. I save as many as I can”.
“Most people around me aren’t friendly to animals, being kind to animals is something God asked us to do”
A true animal lover with genuine care for street animals, Abo Zeid is not only loved by cats, but dogs as well, “I don’t only take care of cats. There are a group of dogs that visit me every night”, he tells, “I feed them and play with them then they leave and come the next day.” The stark difference between people and what they would do for innocent animals is staggering, especially when Abo Zeid’s loving behavior is compared to the cruel animal attacks we’ve been seeing recently.
A humble man like Abo Zeid is going out of his way to help animals with the little he has to offer. He doesn’t take donations for anything other than his cats, and sometimes even then he is reluctant to accept anything at all, proud man that he is. He cites that his cats eat from whatever he eats; and they do look well-fed.
If you would like to donate cat food to help Abo Zeid and his lovely family of cats, do so at 6 Ibn Hisham Street, El Hegaz Street, Heliopolis. (Beside The National Eye Hospital)
All Photos by What Women Want… Magazine Team.