Inspired by the actions of a real person, the ‘cat man of Aleppo’ Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, who set up a cat sanctuary after his family left the city for safety, Hiba Noor Khan has written her own version of events about the man and the place that became a haven of hope and love not only for felines but also the humans – young and adult – who came to play and to work therein.
The story starts with a little grey cat contentedly residing in Aleppo, but then came the catastrophic war bringing changes such as the tramping of humans in boots and hunger for the cat population, all of which except the little grey cat, seem to disappear, leaving her not only in need of food, but lonely and frightened.
Time passes, the little cat remains in the shadows until one day a different kind of human appears – one speaking softly and with kind words. Following the man through the streets with signs of destruction everywhere, till near the point of exhaustion, she sees something almost unbelievable – a haven of calm with food, moggy friends and the kindness of human touch.
Fully restored the following morning, the thankful little cat discovers that there’s more than one way to show thankfulness and so she does …
Both the author’s words and Laura Chamberlain’s illustrations, show the transformational power of kindness and love, and how warmth and acts of altruism can help others to transcend the worst of times.