Rescue Stories: Jeddah - Found Broken and Dirty on the Streets of Saudi Arabia | Lola The Rescued Cat
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rescue Stories: Jeddah - Found Broken and Dirty on the Streets of Saudi Arabia

Today we bring you the story of Jeddah.  I have followed Jeddah's Facebook Page for some time now, and was always moved by her story. She may have had a rough start in life, but now she has wonderful parents and lives the life of  a princess.  

Jeddah's Journey
Jeddah is one of the smartest cats I’ve ever known. She’s a survivor, but considering where she came from, she had to be. Her journey to the United States began in May, 2011 when she was just a baby kitten struggling to live on the dusty streets of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.My husband was in Saudi Arabia on business for three months, and his hotel sat next to a small shawarma restaurant with tables and chairs situated outside. He would have dinner there every couple of days and one day he noticed a tiny, dirty kitten jumping against the legs of the patrons, begging for food. Everyone seemed to enjoy the little cat’s company and fed her scraps, smiling and trying to pet her.

The restaurant where Jeddah was found.

One afternoon my husband called me sounding worried. He found the little kitten laying in the dirt near the restaurant, pulling herself along the ground unable to walk. One of the workers of a nearby ice cream shop had given her a small cup of ice cream that she was trying to lick. He didn’t want to leave her injured on the ground so he asked me what he should do. I told him to bring her to a local veterinarian, but to tell them she belonged to him so they wouldn’t put her to sleep or deny her treatment. We really had no idea what they would do. It was so late in the evening the vet clinic wasn’t open so he hid her in a bag and smuggled her into the hotel he was staying in. One of the workers at the ice cream shop was worried that my husband was taking her away, but he assured the worker he was bringing her to the doctor. When he got back to his hotel, he put her in the bathtub for the night so she wouldn’t injure herself further and could stay in one place.

Jeddah in the tub in the hotel.

Jeddah was covered in fleas, dirty, and unable to walk. She dragged her left leg behind her as she tried to get used to the confines of the bathtub. My husband bought her some cat food and the next morning took her into a local clinic that doubled as an animal rescue. He snapped a picture of her and emailed it to me saying “Say hi to our new cat!” I remember thinking how tiny she looked in the big bathtub.

The Veterinarian examined Jeddah and discovered she was infested with fleas, had a nasty case of ringworm and a fractured leg. He speculated she was around 7 weeks old. We also figured out she had survived on her own in a dumpster area near the back of the shawarma restaurant, but her mother or siblings were nowhere to be found. The Vet Tech bathed her and once she was cleaned up they noticed she wasn’t grey, but a bright white and black ‘cow cat’ with a small mustache covering her right lip and a swath of black fur sweeping over one eye, tapering off into a “toupee” over the back of her head. She was scrawny and skinny and obviously starving, but she quickly fell in love with her rescuer, this stranger from America who took her off the street.

The plan (according to my husband) was to pay to board her at the clinic since he couldn’t keep her in his hotel and to try to find someone to adopt her before he had to come back to the U.S. But in the meantime, he visited her every other day bringing toys, treats and even a bed. He said the other cats were jealous when he’d come to see her and play with her outside the cages.

Over the next month he fell in love with the little black and white kitten and the feeling was definitely mutual. The Vet Tech said every time she’d go in the back near the cages, Jeddah would jump out of her bed and run to the door of the cage, excited and looking for her rescuer. If she saw it wasn’t him, she’d slink back to her bed, sad because she hoped it was her favorite person. But when he was able to visit, she’d mew loudly and jump around until he could take her out for some quality cuddle time.
Looking for her new Daddy in the clinic.
He decided he wanted to bring her home with him. I agreed and we worked with the clinic and airlines to figure out how to get her home. The clinic served a lot of Expats from Europe and America so they were well versed in the travel and clearance requirements for companion animals. I insisted my husband bring her on the aircraft cabin with him. He arranged all of her paperwork, vaccinations, microchipping, plane reservations, bought a brand new tiny carrier and we waited for the big day. He left the toys and bedding with the clinic to donate to the other homeless cats residing there.

Neither of us really knew what to expect. Would the Saudi authorities stop her, would they allow her on the plane? Would the U.S. Customs agency try to quarantine or hold her? We were both nervous about how the whole thing would go. And we worried the trip would be too traumatic for Jeddah. She was extremely young, maybe too young to travel, but we had to try. Everything went smoothly and in the early morning hours of July 8, 2011, Jeddah boarded the plane with my husband to start her journey home to the U.S. Once he was seated in Business Class, he situated the carrier by his feet. While other businessmen adjusted their briefcases and laptop bags, my husband was minding a little kitten squirreled away under the seat in front of him. I always marvel that Jeddah went from the streets to Business Class in only six weeks!

We both worried about how she’d handle the flight being so young, but ever the brave girl, behaved beautifully on board the aircraft and despite the 14 hour+ long trip didn’t go potty one time! When he got to Germany he called me on Skype so I could see her. I remember her little face looking at me from the carrier wondering what was going on.

Peeking out of the carrier on her way home.

When I met my husband at the airport I’ll never forget seeing him push his luggage out from Customs and perched on the top was a tiny brown and green carrier with two large green eyes peering out through the mesh. My husband joked that I was more excited to see Jeddah than him, even though he’d been gone for three months!

Jeddah settled into our home perfectly. She marveled at her new room filled with toys, a soft bed and a big litterbox. Gone was the dust, dirt and grime of the city, now she was surrounded with plush furniture, lots of treats, and no loud street sounds. The first thing she did when we opened the carrier was run to the litterbox and go to the bathroom. Even though my husband had lined the carrier with a pee pad, she’d held it for the whole trip!

Jeddah's first day at home.

Over the next few months Jeddah adjusted to being in the U.S. and safe in her new home. She was malnourished and still struggling with ringworm, but with a lot of TLC and a few visits to the vet, she filled out and grew into a beautiful, fluffy, pampered princess.

Jeddah posting for the cover of a calendar.

Jeddah is an amazing cat. She’s one of the smartest cats I’ve ever known. She’s fearless. One of her favorite things is to climb as high as she can. She loves to jump to the top of doors and crouch near the ceiling spying on her cat siblings as they walk below. Her eyes are almond-shaped and the most gorgeous shade of green I’ve ever seen. I can’t say enough how amazing she is—her spirit is strong and she keeps me smiling with her mischievous ways.
Jeddah loves her high spots.

Jeddah’s journey to the U.S. was possible because of one man’s compassion for an injured street cat in a faraway land. This little cat has changed our life, and I continually stand in awe of how smart and brave she is. I was asked to write an article about her rescue for and encouraged to start a Facebook page because readers would want to follow her journey. So I started her page and immediately she made friends all over the world. Over the past four years, Jeddah has been an ambassador for animal rescue and has inspired others to save cats in the Middle East, some even bringing them back to their home countries! She is an inspiration, and lights up my life every single day!

Cuddling with Daddy.
Northern Virginia 

Jeddah currently lives in Northern Virginia with three cat siblings: Nala (a tortie rescue kitty from Noah’s Ark Animal Rescue in Macon, Georgia; as well as Bugsy and his sister Cupcake, both rescues from Fancy Cats Rescue Team in Herndon, Virginia). You can follow Jeddah’s Journey on her Facebook page.

Would you like to comment?

  1. OMC, that was an awesome story, and it make my human all teary-eyed. Tell Jeddah that she should submit her story for the second Rescued book! My human is going to announce submissions very, very soon!

  2. What a wonderful story! It's hard to believe the kitty in the first photo is the same one in the last one. What a pawesome rescue.

  3. Such a great story, I love happy endings. Jeddah is absolutely beautiful.

  4. Jeddah...

    we total lee... total lee loves yur storee...a paws two ewe, yur dad, yur mom, de vet tech, customs......we iz mega glad happee yur now livin large & in charge in yur for evers home...we troo lee like yur "high spot foto" ....with de lite bee hind ewe itz like...look at me now !! N how kewl ya getted yur fotoz on de cover oh a calendar !! ♥♥♥♥ grate interviews two day lola ~~~~~

  5. What a pawsum stowry 'bout a pawsum kitty and a wunnewful cat daddy. Weez so glad she was saved. She's very bootyful.

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Lexi

  6. What an incredible story!!! I just liked her FB page to keep up with her adventures!

  7. What a wonderful story! Jeddah is a very lucky kitty. We're off to follow her on FB!

  8. WOW. That's such a wonderful and amazing story! We are going to follow Jeddah on FB!

  9. Jeddah is pawsome! My meowmy is friends with her meowmy in real life. ^..^

  10. We love Jeddah, her Dad is pawesome for rescuing her. We are so happy more kitties in countries that have so many homeless with so little resources are getting saved because humans have been inspired by her story!

  11. If only every human had as much compassion towards the itty bitty kitties of the world. (If only every human would spay/neuter companion animals, and help fund spay-neuter efforts for feral cats.) My kittyboy never had it this bad--he was an owner surrender at a shelter, when he was age 4; it seemed like he maybe had an elderly person who couldn't take care of him anymore--but he's the best little snuggler.


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