Cher Neo I by Sarah Badr, 2004
I am, without a doubt, a cat person. While growing up, I wanted nothing more than to have a cat — but as with most things I wanted those days, my parents firmly refused. And instead, I had pet salamanders that ate each other, and a caterpillar-turned-moth that I had initially convinced myself was a butterfly.
It was only when I moved to Cairo and fell ill that I at last had the opportunity to summon the idea again, and it was in a flurry of sympathy that my parents finally yielded. So one fine March day, I went to the Animal Friends Shelter in Maadi to adopt a cat. And after the kitten I had first chosen came down with a sudden case of ring-worm two weeks later, I happened across a furry little creature the caretakers had taken to calling ‘Tiger’, and I instinctively knew I would be taking him home with me that very afternoon.
Today, his name is Neo (for its meaning of gift in Tswana) and I love him very much. He’s an Egyptian Mau, which is the only naturally spotted breed of domesticated cats, going back to the times of Ancient Egypt (mau means cat in Ancient Egyptian, which I presume is due to the sound of their unique meow). It’s quite a common breed in Egypt, and many other Neos can be seen roaming in and around the apartment buildings of Cairo, foraging through garbage in search of their next meal.
As an amateur photographer (used in conjunction with designing my artwork), I’ve found that Neo makes a particularly good practice subject and I’ve taken to photographing him every once in a while. Today, I’ve amassed quite a large collection of photos, documenting his everyday adventures lest I miss him too much while I’m away in London. The ones above and below are a couple I took just last week, as he slept on the edge of my bed.
Cher Neo II by Sarah Badr, 2004
Sarah Badr © MMIV