A13th floor apartment in Doha, Qatar is one lucky cat’s home. Lucky Lulu, a pure white cat rescued as a kitten off the streets of Qatar, United Arab Emirates by an American woman is now a finalist in the “The Friskies” Cat Video Awards in two categories. The passionate cat rescuer is Lizabeth Setliff and I had the pleasure of speaking with her from Qatar. She divides her time between her home in Florida and her place in Dohar, Qatar where her husband works as an engineer. Their cats regularly travel back and forth between two very different worlds. Lizabeth wanted to share an urgent update. The only shelter in Qatar is closing at the end of the month and 200 cats and dogs need to be re-homed. For links and how you can help, see the bottom of this post.
Q + A with Layla Morgan Wilde and Lizabeth Setliff and Lulu
LMW: You first spotted Lulu while traveling in Qatar. Can you tell us a little about how you met her?
LS: We had recently arrived in Qatar (only 2 weeks) and were exiting a large mall here in Doha when I noticed a tiny white kitten, no bigger than my hand, amidst a crowd of onlookers yet under a spotlight as she was entertaining the crowd by playing with a cigarette butt. I could not take my eyes off her and knew in my heart I could not leave her and walk away.
LMW: How old was she then and now?
LS: She was about 6 weeks old and is now a playful 1 year old who still entertains a crowd.
LMW: Was it love at first sight? And how difficult was it to bring her to the U.S. re: documentation etc.?
LS: Heavens yes. To me she looked like a little angel sent from God above meant just for me. (see below for why) Traveling with cats is no problem. For 30 years my husband and I traveled with our cats – always in the cabin. We know the drill and always work with vets to get things done ahead of time. Hawaii was the most difficult, but most places are straightforward.
LMW: Lulu has a black spot on her head. What is the significance?
LS: The small black spot was such an interesting piece of information. The veterinarian in Doha, Qatar noticed it immediately and said the locals refer to such a spot on white cats as the cat being “touched by Allah” and I felt goosebumps when he told me that. It caused me to feel even more blessed. Incidently, “Lulu” means “Pearl” in the Arabic language and that is how she got her name.
LMW: Do you have or have had other cats?
LS: I have had a long history of cat ownership…and all of them have adopted me. Since marrying my Army husband I have had:
1: CPT Trecky, Russian Blue, named after Star Trek (favorite show) and traveled with me to Germany where I met my husband.
2: Thomas, Black Short hair, showed up as a kitten on our door step at Fort Leavenworth, KS and traveled with us to Turkey, Korea, Hawaii, and Doha – living to be over 20 years old and one Lulu took a liking too.
Lizabeth Setliffe with her beloved cat Thomas.
3: Kokohead, Black Short hair, a feral cat who showed up at our doorstep at Ft Shafter, Hawaii. She was 14 years old at the time, was part of a Trap/Neuter/Release program at Ft Shafter and whose microchip helped identify her from 14 years earlier. She is the sweetest cat who also has made the trip to Doha and was able to meet Lulu. She got me involved in cat caretaker affairs in Hawaii that I still support to this day.
Kokohead the feline globetrotter
LMW: Lulu looks very intelligent. What’s special about her? Is she different than American cats?
LS: Although I don’t see any difference, I expect she can tolerate extreme heat better as it is very hot in Qatar!! Seriously, Lulu is so special. She nurtured me through the passing of Thomas earlier this year and I think she is not only very smart but compassionate. She plays games well, can fetch balls and toys routinely, and continues to entertain whenever she can. She really is God’s gift.
LMW: Lulu like to travel. Do you take her outdoors or on a leash?
LS: Lulu travels well, even across the ocean. Locally, I only take her outside in a pet-stroller which she loves to do when it is not too hot. She jumps in the stroller all the time though to tell me she’d like a trip outside.
LMW: Many all white cats have hearing or other issues. How is her health?
LS: Thankfully, her health is purr-fect. There are some great vets here in Qatar (mostly from the UK) who take good care of her, and who also do some great things for strays and homeless animals that I really admire.
LMW: This question for Lulu. If your mom wins the contest, how would you like her to spend the winnings?
From Lulu: My sister Kokohead and I are both adopted feral cats, and we were so lucky to find a home. I would hope that winnings could be used to help others like me.
From thousands of entries, Friskies and the contest judges selected 20 semi-finalists to compete for a spot as one of 12 finalists. Each category winner and one Fan Favorite winner will be awarded a total of $25,000 in cash prizes and gold-plated Catuette trophies at “The Friskies” Award Show hosted by comedian and cat owner Michael Ian Black is scheduled to be broadcast live at on October 15, 2013 at The Friskies
Friskies also will award more than 250,000 cans of Friskies cat food to 20 cat charity organizations nationwide as part of the program.
See the brilliant Lulu in action and vote for “Get the Ball!! here in the Cat Comedy category and for “peek a boo” here in the Catventure category.
Voting is open through noon ET, September 16, 2013, at www.TheFriskies.com. You may vote once a day per entry, per person, per email address.
For the latest news about pets in Qatar and how you may help, visit Qatar Animal Welfare Society QAWS or their Facebook page
Some of the pets are being transported to the U.K. and the U.S. A small cat rescue group at the Six Senses Spa has rescued some amazing cats. Look at these gorgeous cats at their Facebook page going to their new home in New York!
We have special 9/11 tribute at our sister site Boomer Muse