“The 2nd of March was the worst day of my life.
At 6:30 pm, our house was hit by a missile that took 38 lives (22 adult cats and 16 kittens).
They all went to heaven — my cats, my kitties, my kittens.
I can’t find the words to describe the horror and the loss that we faced.
The whistle of the missiles, the strike… My husband is screaming: “We’re on fire!”
The only fire extinguisher we had lasted for less than a minute. I’m screaming: “Water!”
The smoke is everywhere. We’re making our way through the debris. There is no roof and no second floor. Only a big hole in the house.
Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!
The non-stop whistle of the missiles.
My children are in the basement alone, screaming through tears: “Where is your God, granny?”
I am falling, falling, falling…
My legs are bleeding, I am barefoot…
My husband is driving the car out of the garage, its roof is on the fire already.
The shelling doesn’t stop. Shells are exploding on our street, on our yard, on neighbouring houses.
Children are still staying in the basement. I am trying to find the cats in my blazing house.
With a wet blanket, I am trying to get to the Lusindra holding on the inflamed curtain with her claws. My hands are bleeding.
I am grabbing cat after cat, not knowing which one it is — it’s impossible to tell them apart now.
A wild howl of pain…
Running out of the burning house… Just to come back for other cats…
My husband is knocking on our neighbors’ door, but nobody answers…
The house is entirely covered in flames. In a hurry, we are getting into the car, driving helter-skelter… Through bushes, hitting a tree…
We managed to arrive at my husband’s parents — I am screaming, and screaming, and screaming…
It’s cold… I am trying to keep the cats hydrated…
In an hour and a half, I was holding eight cold bodies… Nola was still breathing…
Up until the morning, my teeth were clattering, I was constantly coughing… Thirst… Tears.
Only the next day had we realized that we have no documents, no money — NOTHING. Only children, one cat, and our dog.
“I think I am going crazy.” I am taking a paper, writing down their names: Oskar, Blackie, Snowy, Kaiser, Daisy, Aisha, Anzhelka, Dashka, Sonia, Maiia, Santa, Lexi, Lusindra, Geneva, Moon, Fiji, Indra, Ella, Elia, Natashka, Kira, Caramel… My little bengals…”
The author of this story is the owner of a Bengal cat cattery.
Ukrainian Text by Lesia Paladych. Translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Jul 8, 2022