Pet shops in Cairo are a terrible, cruel place for cats and animals alike. Not only are the cages too small, leaving the cat little room to move, but they often look sick, their coats showing signs of mites eating away at their fur. It hurts to pass by pet shops, seeing large cats in small cages, as though prisoners for a crime they did not commit. My eyes usually zero in on the cage’s latch, and I often see myself freeing them.
But where would they go? Although living on the street would give them the freedom and movement they crave, it wouldn’t guarantee frequent meals, safety from cars, dogs, or serious diseases.
When I passed by a pet shop when one of the cats meowed out to me. It had no room to run or stretch, or basically be a normal, happy cat. Large pieces of cardboard acted as a lining for the cage’s base so that the cat could urinate and excrete out in the open. The pet shop staff looked like they had no intention of cleaning the mess anytime soon, although they weren’t busy with customers. Because of the lack of hygiene, swarms of flies filled the pet shop.
Pet shops in Egypt don’t require a license to sell cats and dogs like they do in the UK. With no laws to exert on pet shop owners, the animals are left in terrible conditions, until the day comes when they are bought. And the older the cat is, the less chance it has to find a loving owner. With most Egyptians preferring to purchase white, blue-eyed Persian kittens, the nightmare continues for cats, and animals alike, across the country.
Most people in Egypt laugh when someone complains and tells them of the animals’ rights, reacting with a popular statement, “Are there human rights here for there to be animal rights?”
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