Admin Note: Limpet is a Ragdoll Wannabe – meaning, she is not a purebred Ragdoll. I do not like to change what people write, but the only way to know if a Ragdoll is a Ragdoll is with DNA tests or papers. Regardless, this is a lovely story.
In October 2019, I went to Egypt for a visit. I knew that Canada’s Golden Rescue worked with the Egyptian Society of Mercy to Animals (ESMA) to bring golden retrievers to Canada. As someone who had lived in Egypt for six years and taken a golden retriever from the beach it was a cause close to my heart. I contacted them and became a flight parent for what would, eventually, be 20 golden retrievers (that’s a whole other story!).
Although I’ve worked with rescue shelters in Egypt before I’d never visited ESMA. Staying with a friend in Cairo, I brought some of the required medications for the goldens to the shelter and met with the woman who started and still runs the shelter, Bahra Fahmy. The whole time I met with Bahra her phone was ringing with various animals needing help. As she answered calls I went with one of the shelter workers to distribute the bags of cat toys I’d brought from Canada.
There were hundreds and hundreds of animals in the shelter. I started pulling out some of the toys in the first cat enclosure with about 100 cats then the shelter worker slowed me from giving them all out and led me to the next cat room. Then the next. Then the next. With a sinking heart I realized that there must be about 800+ cats. I looked down at my small bag of toys and felt a little helpless.
I returned to where Bahra was sitting and met some of the golden retrievers that would return to Canada with me. Some were shy and traumatized, others just young, others jumped into my arms for the joy of a rare cuddle. These dogs had a long trip but great future ahead of them. They were already in a foster-to-adopt situation as soon as they landed in Canada.
That night, I kept thinking about the rooms and rooms of cats. I had no intention of taking any animals back to Canada for myself and knew our own shelters were overrun with cats too. I continued to the Sinai to visit friends and after three days of consideration texted Bahra saying I was willing to take a cat back. It was only one out of so many but a life’s a life.
I couldn’t pick from 800+ cats but had seen many, many rag dolls (I’d never even seen the breed before) so simply asked for a male ragdoll.
At the airport it was typical Egyptian chaos. There was traffic and security and people everywhere. I opened the cat cage and said a quick hello to an emaciated, calm cat. I was taken aback. He certainly didn’t look terribly robust or much like the photo I’d been sent. I briefly considered changing my mind but then decided to push through.
The flight was long (about 11 hours) and having a cat in your hand luggage was stressful. I had to change his bedding like diapers whenever he needed the bathroom. It was a bit of a miserable flight and I worried about the dogs beneath us in their crates. When we landed I hired a porter and went through customs with dogs and a cat.
Now through all this awfulness, I’d not heard a peep from the cat in the box. I knew he was OK since I’d cleaned his cage multiple times. He peered through the holes in his soft crate and that’s about it.
After handing over the dogs to their new owners I finally felt I had a little time to let Limpet out of his crate. I went to a handicapped washroom and let him out. I’ve attached a picture of him sitting and evaluating me. And then he started to purr and cuddle. He was a mess. Stinky from travel. But a sweet mess and after all of that travel awfulness, ready to be loved.
From there we grabbed more flights and eventually ended up home on Vancouver Island. I let him sit in the front seat of the truck on the way home and he curled up there as if he’d done it his whole life.
From there it he was on the road to recovery… full of worms, ear mites, an eye virus that he still has scars from and suffering from bad upper respiratory infection. This is where the pictures show more than words.
He was a skeleton in the beginning but now weighs in at 11 lbs. I was going to call him Assad (meaning freedom). Now, months later, he’s Limpet (named after the local molluscs that are super tough, robust and stick to rocks) because he never leaves our sides.
I found Floppycats while doing a little research on rag doll cats. It was so funny to find the descriptions and character traits listed on the site. Limpet is exactly what a rag doll is supposed to be… follows you around the house, fetches balls, plays, affectionate beyond any cat I’ve met before and getting bigger all the time.
From the first day in the house he worked on every creature to make them like him… including grooming the dog (talk about a hair ball!). He had a rough beginning (and I’m told when he arrived at the shelter was in much worse condition than when I took him) but has turned out to be a very lovely addition to the household.
Admin note: I asked if there was a way for Floppycatters to help – she said, “George Animal Foundation rescues floppy cats from this shelter.”
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