As bombs rocked the outside world, New York Times correspondent John Burns found one hopeful symbol within the newspaper’s Baghdad compound—the growing cat population. Keen survival instincts brought the cats over the blast walls to adoring humans who fed and counted the feline population. It was “one small thing we could do to favor life over death,” he writes.
Burns says the cats had lessons to impart about the war. Upon hearing a bomb blast the first time, cats react with fear. "On the next occasion, come the blast, they barely stir." Burns himself adopted a cat heard whining in the winter night. That cat’s fate—a safe return to an England home—is one many Iraqis would envy, he realizes.