Sherry the cat (Sherry’s a boy) suffered in Syria as his family had suffered.
When Sherry’s family had the chance to make it to Canada, there were concerns about how the cat could also join them.
Naeila El Shatir considers Sherry to be part of the family.
When the Syrian refugee was given the chance to make a new life in Canada, El Shatir was determined to find a way for her beloved cat to join her in Regina, according to a story in the CBC.
I’ve had Sherry for five years. He came to our home as a gift for my sister, who was disabled. My responsibility was to take care of him. She loved him very much,” El Shatir said.
‘This cat suffered as we suffered in the war.’
El Shatir cared for her older sister, Rsmiah, in Damascus, Syria. Rsmiah had been paralyzed in a car accident in her twenties and was constrained to a wheelchair.
Then, during the war, a bomb destroyed a nearby apartment building and sent chunks of metal flying through their balcony glass door. The debris hit and wounded Rsmiah’s legs.
The two sisters decided to flee to Jordan along with their cat, Sherry. El Shatir says she had to sweet talk a Jordanian border guard to allow them to cross the border with their pet.
El Shatir was torn over whether to leave Sherry behind. In the end, she entrusted Sherry with her brother who promised to complete the extensive medical screening and paper work required to ship a cat to Canada.
“He has formal paperwork more than me,” El Shatir joked.
A family friend who knew how much Sherry meant to El Shatir and her deceased sister, offered to pay the cargo fee — but refused to tell El Shatir how much it cost.
The final leg of the trip, from Toronto to Regina, cost about $200.
Now reunited with her cat, El Shatir is grateful that Canada has welcomed not only her but also Sherry.
“I thank Canada, its people, its government for giving the Syrian people a chance to restart our lives again. To have a chance to live in a normal way and a safe way. Also for giving my cat another chance to live.”
Photo credit: CBC