Abandoned or injured because of acts of war or terrorism, cats can often be the most defenseless victims of human actions. Rescuing such cats is one of its most important tasks of The Cat Welfare Society of Israel (CWSI).

CWSI is “the only registered non-profit organization specializing in cats in Israel,” according to volunteer Anne Moss, who remembers all the cats who were left injured or homeless during the Gulf War. “When the scud missiles hit Israel in 1991, thousands of pet cats were abandoned as their owners fled in panic,” reads a CWSI statement at Moss’s Web site . “Left to fend for themselves in the rubble and debris, many of these cats were seriously wounded or shell shocked.” One cat in particular, named Phoenix because he survived a direct missile hit on his home that killed his owners, served as a reminder to protect those who never asked to be part of any human war. Adopted by one of the shelter’s volunteers, Phoenix has now lived 12 years in relative peace.

This year, because of the increased terrorist threats and the war in Iraq, CWSI has set several goals to ensure that there will be fewer feline casualties in Israel. They want to provide shelter for abandoned cats, organize teams of people to feed feral cats and set humane traps, as well as search for injured cats after any attack. “It is imperative to get veterinary care to the wounded quickly, so search parties have to be mobilized to seek out those cats that are hiding, left without food or even water, and too hurt or scared to fend for themselves,” says CWSI on their Web site at the website. However, according to Moss, CWSI “receives very little government funding” to do so, and “practically all of the money comes in from donations and from fund-raising activities.”

Located in an agricultural town called Even Yehuda, CWSI’s shelter provides boarding for cats, veterinary care, and pet supplies. CWSI has also recently organized learning groups for children, where they learn to how to play with and take care of cats. And finally, in an effort to improve life for all cats in Israel, CWSI has gotten involved on a national level, helping to create spay and neuter programs, protecting feral cat colonies and giving public lectures on cat welfare. According to Moss, Rivi Mayer, the director of the CWSI, will be visiting the United States in July to talk about CWSI and their rescue efforts.

For more information about CWSI, or to make a donation, please visit the website.