Abandoned Cats in Dubai

by Elisa Black-Taylor

Dubai construction - Rapid expansion in Dubai resulted in too much debt and a fagile economy - photo by twocentsworth (Flickr)

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Dubai construction - Rapid expansion in Dubai resulted in too much debt and a fagile economy - photo by twocentsworth (Flickr)

News of the pets in Dubai being abandoned was the first newsletter article that caught my attention on my email today. So I decided to educate myself and my readers at the same time. I'm beginning this from scratch so I'm unsure whether this is a good pet story or a bad pet story. Here's the newsletter that brought this to my attention: Abandoning Pets in Dubai

This is a good newsletter to subscribe to. I just sorry I can't afford the course he offers.

So here we go on my mission of education and awareness.

I have two questions as I begin this. Where is Dubai (I've never heard of it) and why does their pet problem concern us? The name sounds like another country (it is) and don't the people in the U.S. have enough pet issues without adding another country to our list of those to help?

I'll answer the latter question first. We at pictures-of-cats.org take animal welfare first regardless. I'm sure Michael and all of the readers here would agree. I'm presently unable to help financially but I'm good at spreading the word so those who can help will. Educating others is the end result of my big mouth and love of writing I've had since childhood. My love of animals also helps a lot.

In this case the story is similar to events taking place all over the world. Pets are being abandoned for many reasons. Hopefully we can all learn from the story of Dubai and what the people there are doing. This is a situation that can happen anywhere in the world and I'm curious to see how animal rescue groups are handling it. So lets take a look.

Where is Dubai and what happened?

Dubai is a peninsula on the Persian Gulf. I won't spend a lot of time on the location because that's not the issue. The abandoned pets in Dubai need help and rescue groups are doing all they can. Here's the link for those who would like to dig deeper.

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Abandoned pets in Dubai seem to be suffering the same issues as other parts of the world. One similarity is the economic problem. People are losing everything they have because of the economy and can no longer afford to care for their pets. There is one major difference.

Many in Dubai are residents of other countries.

They work in Dubai and when the job ends voluntarily or involuntarily, they return to their own country. Since it costs to take an animal into another country are so high, the animal is abandoned. There are also people who decide to return to their own country on holiday for a short period of time who abandon their pets. They claim boarding costs are simply too high. One month boarding is between Dh (or AED) 1200-1500 (1 Dh = 0.27 USD). 1500 AED = 403 USD Read the entire story while you're there. It addresses the problems we all seem to be facing.

Quarantine and the overall cost of the pet returning to another country with the owner are a major part of the problem. Someone leaving Dubai due to unemployment simply can't afford to take their pet out of the country.

Just a thought. Shouldn't those who are leaving on holiday have considered boarding costs before they had taken on pet ownership? I'm not judging anyone so please don't jump on me. It's just one part of the problem.

I have 3 heroic organizations for this story. I'm sure I'm missing some and I apologize. Thanks to these animal lovers, this is turning into a story of hope. Not just for the abandoned pets in Dubai. Thanks to them, I'm able to pass on helpful hints that can help abandoned pets everywhere.

My first organization is Feline Friends, Dubai. They have a page on Facebook. Feline Friends is staffed by a totally volunteer force. Most already have full time jobs and run this in their spare time to help the homeless pet population. They do not operate a cattery. All cats are placed in foster homes from several hours to several weeks. These cats know the love of a family until a forever home can be found. I love this approach and it saves money by not having a facility to operate. A foster cat is sent to a temporary home with a litter box, feeding bowls, food and litter. Vet visits must be approved before the cat goes to the vet but are covered by Feline Friends. Most of the visits are for vaccines or sterilization. THIS IS SO GREAT!

K9 Friends is a non-profit rescue organization in the Middle East. They also have a page on Facebook. I absolutely love the way the organization is run and would like to share what impressed me. First of all they have a wide variety of ways to help the shelters they operate for the rescues. These include using school age volunteers who want to help out. I would love to have worked for such a cause when I was a teen. Their volunteers can help man the phones, sell merchandise at a booth, perform stall maintenance, or offer to foster an animal. They have programs in place to sponsor an animal. THIS IS SO GREAT TOO!!! And something any Humane Society in the world can easily copy. Their's was a black tie/national dress event which included a 4 course meal and drinks, an auction and prizes. The photography sales alone probably brought in a lot of money. There are pictures posted of the event on the K9 Friends website. This could easily be scaled down to fit any community. My area would do better with a hotdog dinner and door prizes. My point is this idea is very adaptable.

My final organization I give kudos to is the Pedigree and Whiskas Dubai Pet Show 2010. I admit my first thought on them was negative. How can they have a pet show when so many pets need rescuing? People are paying admission and buying pet items and acting like everything is hunky-dory in the pet population there. Just as shows are run all over the world. I admit my first impression was wrong.

The people who put together this show are actually benefiting the abandoned animals of Dubai. One way is by educating people in both pet ownership and pet care. Maybe if people would understand pets aren't toys to be traded in or given up. FOREVER HOMES are called that for a reason. Will people never understand they are getting a pet with the understanding that a 10-25 year responsibility is involved? If you only want a pet for a short time try foster care. Actually, foster care isn't a bad idea for a first time pet owner. Test out the water before you invest in a boat. Pet ownership isn't a good idea for a lot of people. They just don't realize it until it's too late.

Pedigree and Whiskas give charitable organizations the chance to promote their groups to the UAE public.

They raise money for K9 Friends. Pet experts give lectures throughout the day. Refreshments are provided. In other words, this is a family event day. A chance for parents and children alike to learn about pet care and spend quality time together. I LOVE events that involve the family. They create lifelong memories for everyone.

I'm sorry I've given everyone so much HOMEWORK with all of the links. Honestly, this article could easily have turned into a novel. I've described the situation, some of the things that led to it, and ways Dubai re sidents are trying to correct it.

Fortunately these 3 organizations are doing a lot to help. Please forward this story to your local Humane Society and rescue groups. The ideas here are good ones to apply to any community. I love the Puppy Ball idea and the sponsorship programs. Also in using responsible youths to help out.

I'm glad the positive outweighed the negative in my article. That rarely happens and I'm glad when it does.


Flickr PhotoAbandoned Cats in Dubai to Cat News

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Abandoned Cats in Dubai

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Sep 05, 2010 not lack of responsibility
by: Anonymous

Have to make another comment here, the pet owners did not 'throw the cats away' because they couldnt afford to feed them. Most people actually had to leave Dubai urgently and had no time to find alternative houseing (which there would have been none) before leaving. Several comments judged people for getting cats without understanding the responsibilities; if you had to leave your country tomorrow with only the cash in your wallet now what would you do?? You should have thought about that before getting your cat. Please understand the situation properly before making rash judgements, these people probably miss their cats a lot. How hard it must have been to explain to your children why you have to leave and why you cant take the family cat?!

Sep 05, 2010 I would like to help clear things up
by: Anonymous

I notice some people have commented here without really understanding the situation in Dubai. I lived here through the worst of it, leaving last year and have only recently returned. We have many friends that I previously envied, but now they have nothing but a huge mortgage they can barely pay and a house that is worth less than half what they paid. We have friends that lost everything, having sold property in UK before coming out. When they left they had to leave everything behind, with no money to even buy a house again.

Basically as another person commented, you go to jail if you can not pay your debt. If you lose your job, your company is obliged to notify your bank, which then freezes all your funds. If you didnt get your money out in time then you have a couple of days to sell as many things as you can before fleeing. I saw peoples housemaids selling the exquisite, expensive furniture of previously well off people. It was really unbelievable. The issues here were a lot more serious than a few abandoned cats and really if you were facing jail for something as silly as a small loan I think the safety of your family would be the first thing on your mind. Because so many people were leaving there was no chance of having the family cat adopted so yes, many were left to fend for themselves. I'm sure they didnt like to leave their pets but anyone would do the same.

Jul 21, 2010 Make your First Choice with Credit Cards in Dubai
by: Salman Shahid

The major advantage with credit cards in dubai is the convenience as they can be used anywhere including pubs, restaurants, hotels, and retail shops etc. You don’t need to carry cash with you every time. This is a kind of plastic money.

Apr 29, 2010 Abandoned pets in Dubai.
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

Pet abandonment is a common feature in all countries, rich or poor depending on the circumstances and situations of the "Human pet owners".
Dubai has mostly an "Expatriate working population" and the sudden economic collapse must have definitely caused a bit of unemployment amongst foreign employees resulting in most of them later abandoning their pets.
All pet owners should first and foremost realise the responsibility of "PET OWNERSHIP' before purchasing or adopting a pet, its akin to caring of a child. Medical care and maintenance of pets is expensive and although cats are easier to maintain than dogs, yet, they too always require human companionship and at times could have "behavioural problems" detrimental to their human owners welfare.Another misconceived perception is that only the wealthy or working class can afford pets but the same is not always true as manny destitute people also own pets which are their only means of companionship, sharing their sorrows and joys.
Ultimately, "Pet Ownership" is as resposible as " Human Child Upbringing", and not a "Status Symbol" like owning a "Rolls Royce" or a plush apartment.

Rudolph avatar

Apr 29, 2010 Wish I could do more
by: Merrily

When I look at the faces of those abandoned cats and see the desperation in their eyes it breaks my heart. I don't understand how people can throw them away like yesterdays trash when times are tough.
Times are tough for many of us who frequent this site,but we manage to care for our own animals, and a few who were abandoned by others.
I can only hope that for every one who carelessly discards their pets, there is one of us who cares, and are willing to help, even though we may be having difficult times as well. It brings joy to my heart when one of my feral friends,leaves his food bowl to come to me to have his ears scratched, and to say hello every morning, all that these cats need is for someone to love them, and care for them.

Apr 29, 2010 Abandoned Cats in Dubai
by: BJ

This is a situation that all countries are facing more since the economy has been bad. I think this is a good idea for the communities to help with not only the cat situation,but the same applies to dogs. People think they want a pet after a time the grow tired of taking care of it and get rid of it.

I would like to see a community effort for people who have pets and need help to have them fixed, so as to keep the pet population down.

Each article is like a tv series, I can't wait until I can read the next story.

Good Job Eliza

Apr 29, 2010 Thanks Ms Black-Taylor
by: Michael

Now that you are posh I will address you as Ms Black-Taylor πŸ™‚

Thanks for the story, a sad story really of greed over morals. The usual story in one way, it seems.

Dubai is a rich state. They grew too fast, too ambitiously. They acquired too much debt. In the end their immediate neighbour United Arab Emirates helped it pay off its debts.

A lot of foreigners including Brits worked there. Not only were pets abandoned; cars (owned, not hired) and credit cards where simply left at the airport carpark. The credit cards were abandoned because it is a crime in Dubai to not be able to pay your debts. These people couldn't pay off their cards so left. They can't go back! People just walked away from the place as the jobs disappeared.

The crash was brought about by the bank crash. Dubai is a city state, if I am not mistaken.

Michael Avatar

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