After five long and excruciatingly claustrophobic years of being trapped inside the wall of a train station in Cairo, Egypt, a cat was finally freed from its hellhole last month. The poor feline was first discovered in 2010 by an elderly man affectionately known as Uncle Abdo, who heard its meows from behind the wall at Mohamed Naguib Metro station. He traced the sounds to a tiny hole in a wall and realized that the cat must have crawled inside and gotten stuck. He named the cat Biso, and the kindly old gentleman made it his mission to care for it.
At first, Uncle Abdo, who owns a shop outside the station was at a loss of what to do. He thought of breaking open the wall to free the cat, but he could have been charged with destruction of public property. So the most he could do was to slide food and water into the hole for Biso on a daily basis so that it could survive. The bizarre arrangement continued for five long years. Even during the revolution on January 25, 2011, when most stores were closed, Uncle Abdo went to the station, just to feed Biso. It is really sad when you think about how the cat has been trapped all this time in a confined space in the dark, living in its own filth, and not being able to do anything about it.
“I do it for God, what is for God does not go away,” Uncle Abdo said, adding that God rids him of many problems for such good deeds.
Biso's harrowing ordeal finally ended last month, when someone posted a picture of her tail sticking out of the wall on a Facebook page titled “Help and rescue homeless animals”. The photograph got shared several times and it finally caught the attention of local animal rights activist Mounira Shehata. She arrived at the site with fellow activists Marwa Elgebaly and Rania el-Kordy, to finally set Biso free.
The trio spoke to employees at the metro station, but they were told that they needed to come back when the concerned official was present. So instead they filed a report at the Abdeen police station the next day. Police officers, along with civil defense personnel, arrived at the location and immediately got to work rescuing Biso.
“When we removed the wall, a heinous smell emerged from the dark hole, which was 15-centimeter wide and four-meter long,” said Shehata. “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.”
The rescue operation took five long hours, but what is five hours compared to five years. When the wall finally opened up, Biso was too terrified to come out. She only emerged after a worker at the station went inside the hole to bring her out. Once she was out, she ran away before anyone could even get a good look at her. Shehata and Uncle Abdo had to spend several more hours looking for Biso at the station.
The unusual rescue operation drew the attention of commuters, many of whom started asking if the police were there to defuse a bomb. After seeing the cat emerge from behind the wall, some were shocked and left speechlessly, while others stayed to assist with looking for the scared animal. “Shock is not a negative reaction. Those people will take the time to think about they saw, and they will probably reconsider how they look at animals,” Shehata said.