5 min read

Rescue Cat Adopts Orphaned Kitten The Moment She Sees Her

She knew immediately that she was going to be her mom <span class="emoji-outer emoji-sizer"><span class="emoji-inner" style="background: url(chrome-extension://immhpnclomdloikkpcefncmfgjbkojmh/emoji-data/sheet_apple_32.png);background-position:99.94124559341951% 26.02820211515864%;background-size:5418.75% 5418.75%" data-codepoints="2764-fe0f"></span></span>

When Hala the cat met a 2-month-old kitten named Lola, she immediately decided that she was going to be Lola’s mom.

“Hala never had kittens before because she is so young,” Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel (known as Alaa), founder of House of Cats Ernesto, a cat sanctuary in Aleppo, Syria, told The Dodo. “But she approached the kitten and started to clean her.”

Older cat and kitten cuddled up together
House of Cats Ernesto

Lola isn’t the first kitten to arrive at House of Cats Ernesto. Since war broke out in Syria in 2012, the country has experienced near constant bombings, and thousands of families have had to flee their homes. Unfortunately, many dogs and cats got left behind — and the number of strays rapidly increased.

Alaa, who works as an ambulance driver, became famous when he stayed in the war zone to feed hundreds of cats who got left behind in Aleppo. Then last year, Alaa opened an official cat sanctuary called House of Cats Ernesto, which he named after his own cat Ernesto.

Cats at sanctuary in Syria
Some of the resident cats at the Alaa's sanctuary | House of Cats Ernesto

Then tragedy struck — last November, bombs hit the sanctuary, killing dozens of cats as well as Alaa’s beloved dog, Hope. Alaa eventually fled to Turkey with his cat, Ernesto, but he went back to Syria as soon as possible to reopen the sanctuary in a new location in Aleppo.

Hala arrived at the sanctuary six months ago — a volunteer had found her when she was a shy, sickly kitten living on the streets, and brought her to live at the sanctuary.

Man holding rescue kitten in his hands
The sanctuary volunteer who rescued Hala from the streets several months ago | House of Cats Ernesto

Now that Hala is healthy and happy, she’s helping Lola to adjust to life at the cat sanctuary.

Female cat licking kitten
House of Cats Ernesto

“The kitten doesn’t know how to clean herself,” Alaa said. “So it’s the sweetest thing when Hala tries to clean the kitten every day after they eat. Hala always cleans her face.”

Kitten licking cat on her neck
Lola cuddling up to Hala | House of Cats Ernesto

“Now they play, eat and sleep together,” Alaa added.

Female cat cuddling up to kitten
House of Cats Ernesto

“I noticed this beautiful photo with Hala and the kitten and I asked if we had a new mom and kitten,” Alessandra Abidin, a woman who runs Il gattaro D'aleppo, a Facebook group that supports House of Cats Ernesto, told The Dodo. “When they explained me that Hala just adopted the kitten, I decided to make a post about this story because I like it very much.”

Female cat cuddled up to kitten
Hala with her head resting on Lola's back | House of Cats Ernesto

“The Ernesto’s Sanctuary is wonderful project and paradise in the middle of war country,” Abidin added. “With the love and the support of people from all the world, we were able to do miracles for the animals.”

Besides Hala and Lola, House of Cats Ernesto is home to 140 cats, four monkeys, three dogs, two rabbits and one dove. To help all of these animals stay warm and get enough to eat this winter, you can make a donation.