Kiri the Cat: Triumph Over Tragedy with a Broken Back in Lebanon

Broken Back Resilience: Kiri’s Triumph Over Tragedy in Lebanon

For some, animals are cherished family members, creatures of beauty, and, in some cases, even preferred companions over humans. However, not everyone shares this sentiment, and for some, animals are perceived as nuisances or are not thought of at all. Unfortunately, this disparity in perspectives often leads to instances of animal cruelty and neglect, a distressing reality that persists worldwide. Amidst this global challenge, stories of hope and resilience, like that of Kiri the cat, shine a light on the importance of compassion in the face of adversity.

Kiri’s journey began in Bekaa, Lebanon, where she, along with other cats, received care from compassionate neighbors. Unfortunately, not everyone shared the same kindness. Sandra Mouawad, who runs the Paws Crossed rescue center in Lebanon, shared Kiri’s heartbreaking tale with Newsweek. “As I was told, some of the neighbors didn’t care for cats, and one day one of the children was seen throwing stones at her and apparently laughing as if she was just a toy.”

The consequences of this heartless act were severe—Kiri’s back was broken in half. A TikTok video posted on the rescue center’s account, @pawscrossedleb, garnered over 1.8 million views, depicting Kiri, a fluffy ginger and white cat, dragging her immobile back legs across the ground. Mouawad, determined to make a difference, shared pictures of Kiri’s broken back, highlighting the urgent need for surgery that would give her a 60 percent chance of walking again.

Kiri the Cat: Triumph Over Tragedy with a Broken Back in Lebanon

Despite challenges and a full shelter, Mouawad couldn’t turn away from Kiri’s plight. “I didn’t want to take a new case because the shelter is full, but I ended up taking her in.” The subsequent journey involved CT scans, surgery, physiotherapy, ultrasound, electrotherapy, and, most importantly, an abundance of love. Kiri is now on the road to recovery, demonstrating remarkable resilience.

Mouawad, now dedicated to rescuing animals, wasn’t always an animal person. She reflects, “I was never overly fond of animals at first, but after we adopted our first family dog, I began to truly understand the pure love they can bring to your heart, and I couldn’t witness so much hate towards them and do nothing.”

In Lebanon, where economic crises, government instability, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the 2020 Beirut explosion have left a lasting impact, animal welfare struggles to secure a prominent place on society’s list of priorities. Florence Massena, writing for The New Arab, highlights the challenges faced by pet owners and rescue organizations in Lebanon, where economic hardships contribute to a surge in abandoned pets.

Mouawad emphasizes the prevailing ignorance in Lebanon regarding animal feelings. “There’s so much ignorance here,” she states. “People don’t think that cats and dogs have feelings, and there are very few consequences for the evil actions against them here.” Despite new laws emerging to protect animals, the lack of awareness and enforcement poses significant challenges. Acts of cruelty, such as hitting, poisoning, and abandonment, continue to plague Lebanon’s animals.

In the midst of these challenges, stories like Kiri’s serve as beacons of hope, reminding us of the transformative power of compassion. Mouawad’s dedication to animal rescue stands as a testament to the impact individuals can make, even in the face of widespread indifference. As Lebanon grapples with societal issues, including animal welfare, the tales of resilience and compassion, like Kiri’s, inspire a collective call for awareness, empathy, and positive change.

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