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Woman Carries And Comforts Cat Amid Air Raid Sirens Sounding In Kyiv, Ukraine
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Animals, Cats6 months ago

Woman Carries And Comforts Cat Amid Air Raid Sirens Sounding In Kyiv, Ukraine

Why is it that animal suffering brings about such strong feelings in most of us? Is it their inherent goodness, the unconditional love they give to their owner, or the vulnerability we see in them? Regardless of the reason, we tend to root for our furry friends, wanting the best for them. I know you cried for Hachi, don’t deny it. Parker was never coming home.

Home; a place of safety, comfort, love. It is one of the bases of our survival, yet, millions of people have lost theirs in the war between Ukraine and Russia. Yet, they don’t flee alone—they take their pets with them.

Animals have suffered in this war; the loud noises, the commotion, the lack of food… And yet as much as we need our pets for comfort, they seem to need us for the same exact reasons. A video showing a woman carrying and comforting a cat as sirens sound across the city of Kyiv prompted a question: how has the war affected the animals of Ukraine? Let’s get into it!

More info: Twitter

A video has shown a woman carrying and comforting a black cat amid blaring sirens in Kyiv, Ukraine

Image credits: Trey Yingst

The war in Ukraine is ever-escalating, with horrid news coming forth daily. But there have been a handful of heartwarming stories and images that have made us rekindle our belief and hope in humanity.

One of those moments has been captured by Trey Yingst, a foreign reporter based in Ukraine. She shared a video on Twitter of a young woman walking down the sidewalk, cradling a black cat in her arms. She is shown rubbing her cheek against the cat’s head to bring it some comfort and, no doubt, receiving it in kind, while air raid sirens sound out across Kyiv, painting a foreboding picture of danger and uncertainty.

It’s unclear if the woman is the cat’s owner or if she’d found it cradled somewhere, but it shows how necessary it is for both humans and cats to have a sense of comfort, regardless of the circumstances at hand. Trey has shared multiple videos of this kind, where people have been showing kindness to animals, stating “Humanity continues.”

The video reminded us that people are not the only ones suffering the horrors of war, but pets need comfort too

Image credits: ukraine.ua

But as touching as this video is, it is difficult not to see it as bittersweet. As there is little context to the video at hand, one must ponder, is the cat the only thing left to remind her of what home used to be like? How they cuddled up in peace before the war, pondering small insignificant details of what life is to bring.

And now, as we see in these pictures below, the small worlds people have created have been shattered and burnt down to nothing. So to embrace familiarity, a pet, like a family member, can be the line between losing everything and still having hope.

Image credits: libkos

In the sight of destruction, the relationships people hold with their pets shine through, as they provide each other a sense of togetherness

Image credits: gul.tuysuz

We clutch onto what we believe brings us peace. And when things people have worked hard for turn to dust before them, the embrace of a pet can be their only comfort. For the animal as well, escaping fire, rubble, and noise can be traumatizing. The need for the familiar becomes stronger than ever.

A lot of these photographs show just that⁠—the need for an embrace. If any of you readers have had a cat before, you’ll know that they’re not easy to hold unless they want to be held.

Image credits: graty.me

Image credits: vogue_ukraine

Erica N. Feuerbacher, an Associate Professor in Applied Animal Behavior & Welfare at Virginia Tech College told Bored Panda that animals can sense changes to their environment. It can be as simple as fireworks making the pet uneasy that helps us understand the scale of distress a war situation can initiate. She continues to explain that “the additional disruption to their daily schedule, and the change in their owner’s behavior, especially stressed and more frantic behavior, all certainly contribute to stress in the pets.”

Erica said that a lot of the times people carry their pets as a source of comfort, wanting to keep them close. Other times, the pets might be older, “have challenges walking, and, if there is active shelling in the area, the animals might become too scared to walk, thus necessitating their owner carry them.”

Puppies are also seen among the rubble, needing reassurance and their owners more than ever before

Image credits: ukraine.ua

Pups are not out of the equation either. Their heightened senses may become their worst ally, seeing as the rubble, explosions and dust can cause confusion and distortion.

According to Wag Walking, dogs have a great way of sensing danger, based on their superior senses of smell and hearing, even the capability to sense changes in the barometric pressure.

However, these capabilities also leave pups vulnerable to PTSD, which can be caused by a traumatic event. So it is no surprise that dogs need the love and care of their owners as much as the owners need comfort coming from a member of the family.

Image credits: yamphoto

Erica explained that companion animals can likely show similar if not greater symptoms, considering the fact they wouldn’t be prepared for such experiences. She provided an overview of the symptoms to look out for and how to combat them: “I would look for fearful or anxious behavior – a reluctance to do things they used to do, showing signs of stress in certain situations (excessive panting, whining, lip licking, trembling, ears back along the head), or a general malaise. If you notice your dog showing any of these changes, try to avoid those situations if possible.”

“Try to make things as fun as possible—give treats, favorite toys, and don’t be afraid to comfort your pet. Petting can help decrease heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels in dogs. If it’s extreme, check with a veterinary behaviorist about medication that could help and an applied behaviorist to get more detailed behavior plans.”

Wars have rarely been fought without a furry friend, either assisting in war duties or just providing company

Image credits: national_guard_of_ukraine

War affects animals in a multitude of ways, but let’s look at the animals serving in wars. According to Military.com, dogs were used to break up enemy formations, charging into the ranks and tearing down as many enemy soldiers as possible.

In addition to that, dogs have alerted soldiers to artillery, gas, and infantry attacks. In Iraq and Afghanistan, dogs served primarily in explosive detection roles, helping soldiers avoid IEDs and mines.

Image credits: graty.me

But pups weren’t the only ones aiding the soldiers, cats have had their roles, too!

According to The National WW2 Museum, cats were often welcomed aboard ships to help with rodent control and similarly in barracks and military field offices. A good ratter could help preserve often precious food stores, help in preventing the spread of diseases, and keep rats or mice from chewing through ropes and wiring.

Image credits: ukraine.ua

Cats have shown themselves to be great mascots in aiding morale and catching pesky mice trying to eat the soldiers’ food

Image credits: ukraine.ua

Not only were animals great allies to the war efforts, they were also there to boost morale and provide comfort and a sense of home for the soldiers who’d been away from it.

Often pets and mascots were adopted along the way by soldiers and sailors who found an abandoned kitty or puppy, similarly to Rambo’s story recently, which will be linked here. It is clear to see that the roles of mascot and ally are still applicable to this day.

Image credits: ukraine.ua

Wars have a significant impact on those that cannot be taken care of in a warzone, such as zoo animals, livestock, and work animals

Image credits: dsns_ukraine

However, the realities for these and other animals not part of the mascot team are not as wholesome.

According to the Conflict and Environment Observatory (CEOBS), wars have often led to animal casualties and deaths, caused by becoming enemy targets, use of poor training methods and housing, overwork and exhaustion, exposure to heat or cold, starvation, thirst, disease and abandonment.

Pets are not the only ones to worry about. The wildlife suffers even from low-level human conflict, with usual habitats destroyed and breeding grounds compromised.

Zoo animals are often the victims of conflict, often seen as a liability. The animals can be killed, injured, starved, and abandoned, let alone the multitudes of other scenarios I do not want to mention. Let’s also not forget livestock and working animals, who would have to be left behind in order for the owners to escape a potential warzone.

Image credits: dsns_ukraine

People will not leave their pets behind, rather staying back in Ukraine than abandoning their companions

Image credits: ukraine.ua

But people will not leave their pets behind. Those that can leave will do so with their animal companions. I guess the question there is—why? Why risk so much for an animal?

Well, according to Transitions Life Care, animals can give you a sense of purpose and a reason to get out of bed when you are feeling particularly depressed or anxious.

They can have a deeply calming effect on humans and can often pick up on their owner’s moods, snuggling up or trying their best to make you happier. They give us meaning and the bond between owner and pet cannot be underestimated. They need one another through thick and thin.

Image credits: vogue_ukraine

Image credits: vogue_ukraine

Lots of unknowns await the world, but what we can learn from these acts of kindness is to stay human

Image credits: loveyoustepan

Erica believes that “it’s useful to take the animal’s perspective: we can see how devastating the situation is for humans, and they know what is going on. Think about how frightening this must be to animals who hear the same explosions and frightening stimuli, but don’t understand what is going on. This goes for both domesticated animals and all the wildlife in war-torn areas. Finding and supporting charities that are working to evacuate animals, help owners and animals stay together, or are maintaining shelters in the conflict areas is something we can do even if we can’t be physically there to help.”

We stand with Ukraine, its people and pets

Image credits: vogue_ukraine

It is difficult to know where this war will lead and what the damage is until it’s over. What we do know is the fact that millions have been uprooted from their homes, countless are dead, and many more hours of waiting await us all.

What we can do is stay human, stay kind, and stay humble. Because you never know when you’ll be needing the help and comfort of a stranger. Here are some resources to help Ukraine and a list of incredible pictures of people fleeing with their companions at the start of the war, if you’d like to bless your eyes with more wholesomeness.

Otherwise, I shall leave you with a request to leave your thoughts below, just as these people have, and I wish you a wonderful day!

Image credits: gardencatlady

Image credits: peakstopac

Image credits: EASpenser

Image credits: HoggeArt

Image credits: Edelweissm_jour

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What do you think ?
Heather Lambie
Community Member
6 months ago

That poor burnt hedgehog!!!!

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
6 months ago

Idea: release these animals on Putin. some of the cats look liek they'd f*ck him up and leave him in a litterbox.

Randy Spence
Community Member
6 months ago

I want to scoop up every single one of those beautiful babies and cuddle them off to sleep in safety. If Putin hurts even 1 animal.......Off with his head!

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Heather Lambie
Community Member
6 months ago

That poor burnt hedgehog!!!!

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
6 months ago

Idea: release these animals on Putin. some of the cats look liek they'd f*ck him up and leave him in a litterbox.

Randy Spence
Community Member
6 months ago

I want to scoop up every single one of those beautiful babies and cuddle them off to sleep in safety. If Putin hurts even 1 animal.......Off with his head!

Load More Comments
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