In the wake of a devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria in the early hours of February 6, local time, thousands of people lost their lives and widespread destruction was left in its wake. In the midst of this chaos, one small and frightened feline was rescued by Alex Cutshall, a fieldworker for animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) from Virginia.
Cutshall had flown to Turkey to help with relief efforts and it was there that he found the cat, whom he later named Pisa, in a building that had been left leaning to one side, similar to Italy's famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. With the help of a rescue team, he was able to coax the frightened cat out of the rubble.
After determining that Pisa had no microchip, Cutshall realized that finding the cat's family would be unlikely and so he made the decision to bring Pisa back home with him to Virginia. Pisa purred the entire way to Virginia and Cutshall noted that there was no question that Pisa had to come home with him.
According to Cutshall, Pisa was incredibly frightened when he was first found, surrounded by crumbling buildings and with nothing to eat. But Cutshall and his family were determined to show the feline that he was safe and loved. And since arriving in Virginia, Pisa has thrived in his new home, from cuddling with the family's children to playing with their two dogs and even bringing energy back to their elderly cat.
The rescue of Pisa is just one of many examples of animal welfare organizations helping in the aftermath of the earthquake. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) committed $50,000 to launch relief work in both Turkey and Syria to rescue animals and provide them with necessary medical treatment. Jennifer Gardner, IFAW's disaster resilience manager, emphasized the monumental task of such rescue efforts in such devastating circumstances, noting that their efforts were only a drop in the bucket.
Similarly, PETA's global compassion fund is used to help rescuers quickly respond to emergencies, including natural disasters like the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria. In a press release, a PETA spokesperson praised the efforts of rescue teams in Turkey, who climbed into collapsed buildings to find injured animals, rescued starving animals off the street, and even used a crane to reach a cat who had been stuck in a fourth-floor apartment for 12 days, desperate for food and water.
Through their compassionate and dedicated efforts, animal welfare organizations like PETA and IFAW are able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of animals impacted by natural disasters like the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. And thanks to the rescue efforts of Alex Cutshall, Pisa is now safe, happy, and loved in his new home in Virginia.