Teacher in Qatar spent every penny she had to rescue cats

NEWS AND VIEWS: Jenny Celebi has a beautiful heart, a strong heart and an incredibly gentle one full of love and compassion which has been directed at the abandoned, dumped and forgotten street cats of Qatar where she worked as a teacher for 10 years. She liked the job and the accommodation was free. She said that she spent every penny that she had to make sure that the cats that she saw on the streets were okay. Wow. Message to the British government: give her an award at next years honours.

Jenny Celebi
Jenny Celebi. Photo: Manchester Evening News.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Spent close to £100,000

In all, she estimates that she has spent close to £100,000 over the past decade looking after the colonies of cats and shipping 36 of them back to the UK where she has sold her home in Marple to buy a house in Scotland where she can home the cats that she has rescued and brought back to the country.

It appears to be a monumental work of love and dedication to achieve this level of cat rescue. It all started with a cat named Millie. She said that she met this “little starving kitten, who I named Millie, and just had to take in – she was so helpless and in need of love. That was just the start”.

Feeding a colony
Feeding a colony. Photo: Jenny Celebi.

Millie is now 9 years old and she still lives with Jenny. Her story in the Manchester Evening News website is astonishing in the breadth of its achievement. She was clearly driven to do it and this is the measure of the sort of person who rescued cats. They can’t stop themselves because they can’t accept what they see and what they see is pain, discomfort and distress in abandoned cats who shouldn’t be on the streets.

She said that she loved her job but was shocked at the sheer number of stray cats and dogs and their poor health roaming the streets. She took care of the colonies and did whatever she could to nurse the ill and injured. She rehomed many where possible. She nursed kittens back from the brink of death to full health.

I couldn’t believe how many animals were dumped and left to die. It’s not just cats, dogs are too. But the cat problem is much worse.

She carried out standard TNR work (trap-neuter-release). As mentioned, many were in a bad way healthwise. Some were disabled and one had brain damage. There are some shelters in Qatar run by expats. They rehome cats at the shelter but there aren’t enough.


There are some amazing before and after photographs. I present two of them on this page in the form of a collage to emphasise the transformation that she achieved in these lost and vulnerable cats.

Poppet before and after. Photos: Jenny Celebi.
Smoky after and before. It appears that they had shaved her for health reasons. Photo: Jenny Celebi.

Flying them to UK

The Manchester Evening News reports that she is currently in the process of flying 36 cats to the UK to offer them permanent safety. She is doing this because there’s “virtually no suitable places for them in Qatar”. She couldn’t leave them there when she came back home.

Others, like her helped as well. In planning for a return to the UK she put her Marple home on the market to allow her buy a house in Scotland which has more land. She has found a buyer for her home although the coronavirus pandemic interfered with the sale. She has flown 30 cats over to the UK so far and the remaining 6 will be coming in October. Eight of them are currently at a sanctuary in Wales with a friend of hers pending her move to Scotland. Her house sale completes in August.

She is currently sleeping on the floor in her Marple home with 11 cats and no furniture. Surprising to me, she says that she’s been criticised by some people. Some say that there are enough problems with stray cats in this country and therefore to bring more over is wrong. I don’t get that at all. You hardly ever see stray cats in the UK and the problem in Qatar is clearly far far worse. And when you have a heart like hers you can’t stand by and do nothing.

Criticised by some

Jenny Celebi also says that there is a lot of breeding and importing of exotic animals into Qatar without any regulations. She cites the classic problem of cat abandonment. The kittens look cute so they are adopted and then the adopter gets bored and so they are dumped. She picked up the pieces.

Exotics and Russian Blues

I’m surprised to read that she says that there are lots of Russian blue cats in Qatar but many of them are in a bad way with matted fur and injuries. I wonder if they are purebred cats? She says that Qatar must introduce animal welfare laws to change the situation.

World Cup football

The Qatar government can spend billions on building stadiums for the football World Cup which incidentally should not be in this country because it is too hot. There’s been a massive amount of criticism on that issue. But the point I’m making is that a few million quid would do wonders for cat welfare in Qatar but they can’t find the money for it. I’m compelled to conclude that there is a dysfunctional relationship between the domestic cat and people in that country. If I’m wrong then please tell me.

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