A Syrian refugee will have her heartfelt wish fulfilled this Easter after staff at a Swedish animal shelter rescued her long lost cat from quarantine in Sicily.
The Syrian woman managed to escape from her war torn country and boarded a boat to Sicily with her two brothers. The older brother died during the notoriously perilous journey and the woman now lives at a home for asylum seekers in Värnäs, Sweden, north-west of Stockholm with her surviving brother.
The woman will be reunited with Mela at the Hopp för Hemlösa (Hope for Homeless) animal shelter in Grängesberg, central Sweden on Good Friday.
The woman brought her beloved cat with her when she fled Syria but customs officials in Sicily impounded Mela and the woman had to travel on without her.
A Swedish resident who knew of the woman’s plight, missing the cat who meant so much to her, contacted Hope for Homeless, which raised funds to transport Mela to Sweden through an appeal at Facebook
“The money started coming in very quickly. We had to add a little bit of our own money too but we quickly got almost enough to make it happen,” the shelter’s Minna Lind said.
In a fortuitous coincidence, Minna Lind’s daughter Madeline lives in Milan, and was able to fly to Sicily, where she was able to collect Mela from her six-month quarantine. Mela spent the next two months lodged at a Milan veterinary clinic, where Madeline was able to visit her several times a week.
On Saturday Madeleine flew with the Mela from Milan to Stockholm in preparation for the reunion, which is scheduled for Good Friday, later this week.
“I have heard that the woman is very, very happy and grateful about this. The only wish she had in her life was to see Mela again,” Minna said.
“[The money raised] is not going to be enough to look after a cat, so now we are going to try to collect some more money for her. We are giving her a climbing box and toys from the shelter but obviously she will need more than that,” said Minna.
“But first I am just really looking forward to meeting everyone when they come to pick Mela up on Friday.”