This is an interesting story of a lovely connection between a lady, Sama (24), from Sudan and her cat who decided to take that precarious, month-long journey from Africa all the way through to Italy via the Mediterranean on a rickety boat. We have all heard of the desperate plight of mainly African immigrants using Libyan people traffickers to get across the Mediterranean to Italy where they hope they can eventually begin a new life in northern Europe.
This is the first time that an individual has brought along her cat. The cat was hidden in a travel bag. The boat in which she was travelling was met by a British patrol boat. On disembarking the owner of the cat became extremely distraught after she was told that her cat had to be taken from her. At one time there was talk of the cat being tossed into the sea to be drowned. I sense that the lady had the clear impression that she was going to lose her much loved cat.
As it happens, it appears an Italian lady stepped up to the mark and agreed to foster the cat during quarantine. In short, belatedly they found a solution which saved the cat.
The authorities said that they did not know if Lola (the name that they had given to this) was carrying any diseases which could be contagious. Of course this is correct. Precautions have to be taken with the importation of animals.
However, it is interesting to me that tens of thousands of humans have been allowed into Italy, quite rightly under the circumstances, without any thought given to quarantine yet when a single cat enters the country there is a panic about how to deal with her and the first thought was to kill her.
I’m not suggesting that immigrants from North Africa are diseased or anything like that but it does highlight the difference in attitude towards humans and domestic animals.
When we bear in mind that medical facilities in Sudan and other disorganised and/or poor North African countries are very poor it seems perfectly credible to argue that some of the immigrants will be carrying diseases which may be contagious to other people in the same way that diseases carried by a cat might be contagious to other animals.
Sama will be reunited with Lola after quarantine.