Street Cats

Street cats are a common sight in every city around the world. Abu Dhabi (and the other Emirates) is not different in that, but what makes the UAE particularly harsh for street cats is the extreme climate (over 50 degree heat in the summer).

Most stray cats will enjoy being fed, purr around your legs, and may even tolerate being petted, but would hate to be picked up or kept indoors. We strongly believe, that not every cat on the street needs to be rescued. These cats find it difficult to adjust to an indoor life, and are usually not able to settle. This case is more so when the cat is older.

Please understand that these cats will be very unhappy to be restricted inside and it is not fair to apply our human way of thinking “The poor cats have to live in the dirty street”; “They would be so much happier in our nice, clean apartment/villa”. Especially the local breeds (Arabian Mau, Egyptian Mau, Domestic Shorthair), who are very well equipped to live in these harsh condition (lean, sleek bodies, clever and sharp minds makes them excellent survivors; short thin hair and a highly resistant physical condition).

Furthermore, by keeping the rat and mouse population at bay, they play a vital part in the balance of nature’s life. Cats are mainly scavengers - not hunters - feeding mostly on garbage and scraps. When they do hunt, cats prefer rodents and other burrowing animals, rather than birds. Studies have shown that when cats get removed, the rat population soars and the rats wipe out the birds.

These findings made the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi institute a no-kill policy in 2010, ending a long-term practice that saw healthy stray cats euthanised within hours of being trapped.

Feral Cat Control

Stray animals used to fall under the purview of Abu Dhabi Municipality, but is now the responsibility of Tadweer:The Centre of Waste Management - Abu Dhabi.

Since the “no-kill” order was put into effect, Tadweer has appointed three “pest-control” companies (currently: Eagle, Alphamed, Orcan), who oversee the trapping of stray cats. These companies catch stray cats and take them to the Falcon Hospital, where they are neutered, fitted with microchips, vaccinated and treated against worms and fleas. The cats stay in a room overnight to recover with other cats from the same colony, and are released the next day to the area from which they were captured. The cats ear is also clipped, so that the trappers know not to bring them to the clinic again.

In addition to protecting animals, the new programme also helps preserve the UAE’s heritage – by keeping indigenous Salukis and Arabian Maus (the local cat breed) alive,” said Mrs. Bahsoun, an Executive Council advisor and public administrator. “The Abu Dhabi government recognises that there is a balance in urban and rural landscape of our times, one that includes feral cats”.

Tadweer also asks anyone who witnesses animal cruelty or an animal being abused, to contact them directly at 02 818 5555.

So, if you want to become active, how can you help Abu Dhabi street cats? Click here to find out more…

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