Saving Strays in Jeddah


After helping thousands of cats, Gus’ Hope plans to open cat sanctuary. 

Um Asma has swaddled and bottle-fed thousands of abandoned tiny kittens small enough to fit in the palm of her hand.Since starting Gus’ Hope in 2012, she’s not only rescued feral cats, but has encouraged others to do the same.

Since starting Gus’ Hope in 2012, she’s not only rescued feral cats, but has encouraged others to do the same.

“We still have a long way to go, but people are more educated now about animal welfare. People are more likely to keep their cats and take them to their home country if they leave, instead of leaving them on the streets,” said Um Asma.

Starting the non-profit organization was a natural step for Um Asma, as she had been taking strays into her home to save their lives. She started encouraging others to do the same, and quickly became the “go to” person in Jeddah for anyone wanting to help animals on the street.

“All day long, my phone never stops. People are always calling and messaging me. It’s either ‘take this cat,’ or ‘I want to adopt a cat.’”img_8479

Choosing to Adopt

One important message that Um Asma has been spreading is the importance of adopting instead of buying from pet stores to help control the feral cat population.

“You can find a beautiful cat from the street that’s even more healthy than in the pet store. Just because a cat is on the street doesn’t mean it’s dirty or will make you sick,” said Um Asma.

She encourages people who want a pet to adopt a cat that’s been rescued from the streets, and adds that children benefit from growing up with a pet. Her daughter, Asma, takes on a big role with helping the animals.

Many cats that end up in her home have been hurt while living on the streets. One lost both of its eyes, but has made a lovely pet for Um Asma. Another she recently rescued was found with a severely broken leg that had to be amputated. She expects it was once a house cat that was left on the street by the previous owner. Since the operation, the cat is recovering and is now up for adoption.

Gus’ Hope partners with local veterinaries who volunteer their time and offer discounted spay and neuter services.img_8494

Future Plans

Although Um Asma has already helped thousands of cats, she wants to help even more. Her end goal is to open a cat sanctuary and veterinary school for women in Saudi Arabia. She envisions an educational facility that will also serve as an open sanctuary where people can visit and adopt the animals.Facebook:

Facebook: gushopee
Twitter: umasma2011

Other groups in Jeddah offering help:

img_0519-gatsbyMeet Gatsby the Cat

Um Asma rescued Gatsby, who now has a happy fur-ever home and even has her own Instagram account with photos from her new life.

Instagram: gatsbysaysmeow

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