You may not know this, but the Yahel house has an unofficial mascot: Hatool. Yes, Hatool is a cat (hatool is cat in Hebrew), but last year’s group gave her the name (although she is technically a hatoolah, a female cat). However, I think the name is very fitting. Hatool is the very essence of being a cat. She has attitude, she knows what she wants and somehow she usually gets it. Probably because she’s so cute.
She can be rude and sassy, but she’s also very caring and loving. Sometimes she’s standoff-ish, and sometimes she’s affectionate. In other words, she’s a cat.
She lives on our back porch, and a few of us started feeding her tuna and milk regularly. Hatool could be very demanding, but in the end I still love her. She was my first friend in Gedera! I remember our first time at the house, sitting in the living room, when someone spotted Hatool staring at us through the glass doors.
I am not a cat person. In fact, this is the first time in my entire life that I’ve ever felt affection towards a cat. I’m not sure why, but something about Hatool is very comforting. Perhaps I’m trying to fill the void left by my dog from home. Either way, I’ve become one of those cat ladies.
During Hanukkah, however, Hatool became very sick. Benson ended up taking her to the vet, and she’s been having problems with her bladder. She’s been on medication and has even had surgery. I don’t know what the future will be like for Hatool, but I’m hopeful that she will make a full recovery.
This is may not seem relevant to the Yahel experience on the whole, and it’s not for everyone on the program. But for me it is. Some may think it’s stupid to care for one street cat, to put this much time and effort into Hatool. I believe, though, if you can help one cat have a bit of a better life, then it’s worth it. A little bit of change for one person (or cat) can go a long way. I can’t save all the cats in Israel or even in Gedera, but I can help this one who is near and dear to my heart. I can’t do it all, but I can at least try my best to make any kind of impact possible.
Being in Israel away from my friends and family can be very lonely sometimes. I guess Hatool is the first thing that made Gedera feel like home to me. For that, I owe her a big thank you. So Hatool, this one’s for you.