Catch-Sterilize-Return (CSR)

Overpopulation is a huge concern. As early as 5 months old, two healthy cats (male & female) can produce 20,000 kittens in just 5 years (taking into account the kittens of the kittens). With limited living space in a city like Abu Dhabi, this means daily fighting for territory, food and shelter and a life of suffering, disease, abuse and starvation.

Attempts to remove cats from an area always fail because of a natural and scientifically-documented phenomenon known as the “vacuum effect” kicks in. In basic terms, whenever cats are removed, new cats move in, or the surviving cats left behind, breed to capacity.

As a result of the vacuum effect, other approaches to feral cats are completely ineffective at stabilizing the cat population, for example...


From a certain age, most cats will not adapt to indoor life. They are used to roaming freely outside and would become very unhappy in a sterile environment, which is restricted in so many ways (no hopping on tables or counters, no scratching of sofas, long hours without stimulation and on their own, etc). Contrary to our “human perspective”, they enjoy living outside (often in colonies) and are perfectly adjusted to heat, sand, dirt and food limitation. It is also highly unlikely that all feral street cats will get adopted. The process of taming is time consuming and not guaranteed with success. Furthermore, most adopters tend to adopts kittens which leaves older cats confined in foster homes (or worse in cages at the vet) for months on end. For these cats getting into an adoption program means: Safe but locked up, depressed and bored.

Finally, this takes valuable and scarce foster homes, which maybe needed for urgent rescue cases. In this highly volatile environment, where fosterers and volunteers come and go in short succession, it is important to focus on cases where you truly can make a difference.


While it sometimes seems like an attractive option, relocation is also ineffective for the same reasons: it puts the vacuum effect into motion (new cats will move into this available free space). And, because they have to fight to secure their own new territory or they move around in search of an available one, it endangers cats’ lives and causes them undue stress and suffering.

Cat Shelters

Apart from the fact that cat shelters are not common in the UAE, they do nothing to stabilize the cat population in the community. There will simply never be enough shelter space to house every cat. What’s more, feral cats who are used to living outdoors suffer from stress and disease in these facilities and are bound to be euthanised because it is impossible to home them all.

For those reasons there is only one effective way to control the street cat population: CSR

How does Catch-Sterilize-Return work?

Also known as T-N-R (Trap-Neuter-Return) Cats are humanely caught and taken to a veterinarian or the Falcon Hospital to be sterilized and vaccinated. The top of one of their ears will be clipped to enable easy identification of a sterilized cat.

After recovery, the cats are returned to their colony or region where they have been caught. Kittens younger than 3 months and cats that are not suited for outdoors (long haired cats or breed cats) may be taken into foster homes to be adopted.

The many benefits of CSR are:

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