“Do you want to pet or don’t you want to pet?”
That’s the issue that daily commuters at a railway station in Israel face pretty much every day, according to Dan Kashani, one of them, who finally decided to video what happens with a local cat named Shawarma on a regular basis.
Shawarma has been a staple of the station – a literal fixture — since the stray cat was taken in by the local station in Petah Tikva, a city near Tel Aviv.
Kashani explained, “I was returning from work.” “I saw the cat lying on the gate as soon as I got to the gate, and it was extremely cute – it made me smile.”
Despite the fact that Kashani had previously seen Shawarma, he felt compelled to photograph it this time. Shawarma is seen lying on one of the turnstiles in Kashani’s video while passenger after passenger swipes their tickets.
Kashani has become something of an international figure since posting the video of the local star, attracting attention from all around the world.
Some viewers were taken aback by how many people walked right past the cat without even addressing her (“Pet the friggin cat, you animals!” one commentator exclaimed), but Kashani said Shawarma has a reputation for being a little unpredictable.
“Whether you give your hand and wait to see if she’s into it, you may pet her,” Kashani told The Dodo. When she isn’t feeling it, she will let them know with a small scratch or bite. “She has to be enthusiastic about it.”
Shawarma, on the other hand, did accept a fast head-petting from at least one passenger that day — the video catches the beautiful, though short moment.
Kashani received 1,200 Facebook friend requests after the video was widely shared, and he even received a call from the local mayor.
“I want to meet that cat — what station is it?” the mayor said over the phone. Kashani remarked. “I told him, and he went there and met the cat,” says the author.
“He patted her and gave her food and biscuits and a toy,” Kashani recalled. “I was like, ‘You’re a cool mayor, I didn’t vote for you before, but I’m going to vote for you now!'”