Echo and Syah, Afghani Rescue Cats

Echo and Syah are two Afghani rescue cats. They were rescued by Nowzad, founded by Royal Marine Sergeant ‘Pen’ Farthing. Since the first day he was involved in animal rescue in Afghanistan, Nowzad has flourished. There has been a lot of hard work setting it up and a lot of animals in need of rescuing and medical attention.

Here is Echo the bacon cat (she loves bacon) at the time she was forming her relationship with her soldier friend. Echo was eventually shipped to her new home in America to live with her soldier buddy:

Echo a cat rescued by Nowzad in Afghanistan

Echo a cat rescued by Nowzad in Afghanistan

You may know that Nowzad started when Sargeant Farthing adopted a fighting dog in the village of Now Zad in Helmand Province where he was based as part of the military presence in Afghanistan. He named his dog Nowzad and then his animal rescue charity after his dog. Incidentally his dog has his ears cut off. They do that with fighting dogs in Afghanistan. They like dog fights there.

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The Nowzad Dog shelter outside Kabul is the only one in Afghanistan and it looks very professional. There has obviously been lots of funding. I wonder if the army funded some of this.

For me, the Nowzad animal rescue center, clinic, and shipping agency (!) is one of the few good things to come out of the West’s military presence in Afghanistan. I hate this pointless, misguided war but I love what Nowzad has achieved.

Nowzad Shelter Afghanistan

Nowzad Shelter Afghanistan

They do all the usual excellent work that animal shelters and clinics do in the West: spaying and neutering, surgery, vaccinations etc in the veterinary clinic (Nowzad Conrad Lewis Clinic), excellent shelter facilities for 100 dogs and 30 cats and more….they ship cats and dogs to America, Canada and I presume the UK or any other country where a soldier returns to after his deployment in Afghanistan.

A lot of soldiers form attachments to dogs and cats. When they go home sometimes Nowzad is able to ensure that they stay together. Pretty amazing work.

Syah - a cat rescued by nowzad

Syah – a cat rescued by Nowzad

Syah was another street kitten in need of TLC and he got it from Nowzad. He had no serious illnesses and was given his vaccinations, decent food and some quality human companionship. Syah also got lucky. He was shipped to Canada in Feb 2013 to be cared for by Sandra and Onne who had already adopted two Afghani dogs. Syah gets along well with the dogs and has a new life.

It looks like we went to war in Afghanistan and created some peace and love for the fighting dogs and abandoned cats of that troubled country. Well done Sergeant Farthing and Nowzad and all the people who have worked so hard helping the cats and dogs of Afghanistan.
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Echo and Syah, Afghani Rescue Cats — 9 Comments

    • Yes, it’s one of the few good things to come out of those disastrous wars. There is obviously a hell of a lot of work to do in Afghanistan and places like that to improve cat caretaking and welfare. Think of the millions of cats in the Middle and Far East that suffer and have short street lives. It makes me sad.

  1. I feel beyond blessed to see you share our Echo’s story!! My husband could not leave her behind knowing the life (or more than likely lack of one) she would have there. For myself, we didn’t have the luxuries other families get during deployment like skype. I prayed he would get my packages, but many times he didn’t. Phone calls were mostly how we communicated and after he deployed he sounded less like my husband and much like a man on alert. A soldier. But when he would tell me about the cat they were taking care of, his voice became his again. Those moments meant everything to me. Since having her home in America she continues to give probably more than we gave her. When he is gone in the field or in a training for long periods of time Echo is my shadow. She is a piece of my husband when he is gone doing his duty. Knowing her story has changed our lives and we are committed to helping others know about Nowzad and Pen Farthing’s mission. Thank you so much for spreading the word!

    • Hi Krista, it is great to hear from you. Thank you very much for stopping by and sharing.

      But when he would tell me about the cat they were taking care of, his voice became his again.

      I love this sentence. It seems that Echo made your husband feel human again in a place that arguably dehumanises. Great to read.

      Happy Christmas.

      • Yes! She is quite a different cat! Spotted. She is very gentle with us, babies, even kittens we found out recently. However, her version of play was very rough compared to what our persian rescue cats were used to!! Also another strange thing about Echo is her meow. The vet always knows it is her because she doesn’t sound like a normal cat. It’s almost as if she has an accent!! When I first picked her up at the airport when she got to America I imagined she sounded that way from hours upon hours of meowing. No…she just sounds different! Her nose is also different. Looks more wide and flat.. it has the shape of a leopard cub than domestic cat nose. Thatcher, a recent Nowzad rescue has the same shape nose I noticed!

        • I have a sneaking suspicion that Echo has some wildcat genes. Could be second generation perhaps. It is common for the Near Eastern wildcat (a species of wild cat) to mate with domestic cats. They are very similar. The wildcat is the ancestor of the domestic cat as you no doubt know. They are all over that region.

  2. I was looking for NOWZAD related photos and found my cat! Thank You for highlighting NOWZAD and ECHO’s and Syah’s stories. Much gratitude. What has always struck me is how ECHO’s coat matched her soldier’s cami.
    As for Syah, he is doing great. He has two much older black cats to live with and five dogs. He’s a real attention wanter too. Here he is with Murphy (nee Buddy, from NOWZAD).
    Thank You again

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