CAIRO: After an estimated five years of “entrapment” behind a wall in a Cairo Metro station, a cat was saved from its “tomb” and brought into the daylight, thanks to an elderly man who fed it every day all those years and a group of women who pressured to set it free.
The cat’s tail hanging from a small opening in the wall – Help and Rescue Homeless Animals Facebook page
Sometime in 2010, the cat found a hiding spot between the outer surface of the wall and a fire extinguisher installment at the Mohamed Naguib Metro station in downtown Cairo. One day, however, the cat squeezed into a hole in the wall and did not come out again, the cat’s caregiver, known as Uncle Abdo, told Veto Gate Friday. Uncle Abdo, the owner of a glasses shop right outside the station, named the cat Biso.
Uncle Abdo used to provide water to Biso in the top part of a plastic bottle – Mounira Shehata Facebook page
“When we removed the wall, a heinous smell emerged from the dark hole, which was 15-centimeter wide and four-meter long. It was like a tomb. There were black worms along four meters of the edge, where Uncle Abdo was able to put in food for Biso,” Mounira Shehata, an animal rights activist who participated in the rescue, told The Cairo Post Tuesday.
Biso taking food from Uncle Abdo – Screenshot from Vetogate video
On March 12, someone posted a picture of Biso's tail hanging from behind the wall on “Help and rescue homeless animals” Facebook page, complaining that he could not break the wall to free the cat because it would be considered sabotage of public property.
Another person shared the picture on the “Save an Innocent Animal’s Soul” page on Facebook; that is how Shehata found out about Biso and took off with Marwa Elgebaly, a fellow animal rights activist, to save the cat. Their friend Rania el-Kordy, who shares the same interests, followed them on the day of the rescue.
Veto Gate released a video the same day of someone feeding luncheon to Biso behind the wall, in which the cat’s paw appears trying to grasp the meat, and a similar one the next day of Uncle Abdo.
Shehata and Elgebaly spoke to employees at the metro station in the evening of March 12, but they were told they needed to come March 14 when the maintenance official would be present, as the 13th was a Friday and is part of the weekend.
Nevertheless, Dina Zulfikar, a renowned and accredited animal rights worker who knew about Biso from social media, filed a report at the Abdeen police station March 13, along with animal rights defender Dalia Shaheen. The police and civil defense personnel arrived at the metro and informed the head of Mohamed Naguib metro station there was a prosecution order to rescue Biso. The workers were brought from their homes on their day off.
Workers created three outlets for the cat to come out on its own – Hany Sobhy on Help and rescue homeless animals Facebook page
Uncle Abdo told Masr al-Arabia he used to feed the cat when it was free as a kitten. Biso hid between the outer surface of the wall and a fire extinguisher installment, but after a “stronger cat” beat Biso, it escaped into the hole and never came out, Uncle Abdo said. A few years ago, workers at the station tried to get Biso out, but it was scared off and remained inside, he added.
Rescuers trying to tempt Biso, seen with glowing eyes in the dark, with a can of tuna – Marwa Elgebaly Facebook page
“I do it for God. What is for God does not go away,” Uncle Abdo told Masr al-Arabia, adding that “God rids” him a lot of problems because of such charity.
Dina Zulfikar with Uncle Abdo– Zulfikar Facebook page
Amid lawlessness during the January 25 Revolution in 2011, most stores were closed, including Uncle Abdo’s. He still went to the station daily to feed Biso, he told Masrawy.
Dina Zulfikar explaining the situation to officers – Mounira Shehata Facebook page
Terrified, Biso only came out after Amr, a worker at the station, went inside the hole to get it.
Amr after getting out of the hole – Mounira Shehata Facebook page
Biso, however, swiftly ran away before anyone could catch it. The rescue took over five hours, according to Shehata. She and Uncle Abdo are still looking for Biso inside the metro station.
Left to right: Mounira Shehata, Rania el-Kordy, Marwa Elgebaly, Amr, and a metro worker pose for a picture – Taghrid el-Sherif Facebook page
Coincidently, Mohamed Naguib metro station is named after Egypt’s first President, known as an avid animal lover