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Cat Defender

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Deaf Angora Cat Named Stone Survives the War in Lebanon to Find a New Home in Illinois

"Cats do not declare their love much; they enact it, by their myriad invocations of our pleasure."
-- Vicki Hearne

There have not been very many happy stories to come out of last summer's destructive war in Lebanon. Generally speaking, the savage fighting brought only death to both civilians and animals alike as well as massive environmental damage. (See Cat Defender post of August 10, 2006 entitled "Death Toll Mounts for Cats and Other Animals Slaughtered and Left Homeless in Lebanon by Israeli War Criminals.")

Stone's heartwarming story is an exception to that rule.

Left to fend for himself on the streets when the Beirut shelter where he was being kept was bombed by the Israelis, the one-year-old deaf Angora cat experienced many perilous days and nights. Somehow the Fates were on his side and he not only survived but made it out of Lebanon alive.

As one of approximately three-hundred cats and dogs airlifted out of Beirut last September by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, he was first taken to their twelve-hundred-acre sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. (See Cat Defender post of October 12, 2006 entitled "A Few Hundred Cats and Dogs Are Airlifted Out of Lebanon but Cluster Bombs and an Oil Slick Continue to Kill Animals and Marine Life.") Later, on November 26th, he was adopted by Tom Chambers from the Chicago suburb of Wheaton. (See photo of the happy couple.)

So far, the long-distance adoption appears to be working out really well for both parties. "Stone can be both standoffish and friendly," Chambers told The Naperville Sun on January 4th. (See "Nine Lives From Beirut.") "I can tell he spent time wandering the street because cats are usually picky eaters, and Stone will eat just about anything I feed him."

After he contacted Best Friends about adopting a cat, the organization first sent a representative to interview him and then later delivered Stone to Chicago by private jet. That flight also included a blind cat, a litter of kittens, and a group of feral cats, all Lebanese refugees, who were destined for other American communities.

Chambers, who works for HFBC Finance in nearby Prospect Heights, has a long history of taking in animals in distress as well as financially supporting rescue groups. Previously he has rescued a dog that had been hit by a car and he now cares for a pug-beagle mix that suffers from epilepsy and another dog that was left homeless by Katrina. Nonetheless, he has made room in both his home and heart for Stone.

"I'm an animal lover, and it broke my heart when I realized what had happened to those cats and dogs in Beirut," he told The Naperville Sun. Speaking of the solid-white cat with one blue eye and one green one, he then added, "Besides, how can you not love an animal that looks as beautiful as Stone?"

Although because of his impairment he is not frightened by vacuum cleaners and other harmless loud noises that occur in his new home, it is truly amazing that he was able to survive in Beirut with bombs and debris falling all around him.

Rapidly emerging as the world's premier companion animal rescue group, Best Friends has found homes for many of the cats and dogs that it rescued from Lebanon but it still needs for additional people to come forward and adopt those that remain.

The Beirut operation comes on the heels of its successful rescue mission in New Orleans. It spent $5.8 million dollars during the two-hundred-forty-nine days that it spent there rescuing four-thousand animals.

Photo: Kate Szrom of The Naperville Sun.