Cat Ownership in Dubai: Laws, Tips and Other Local Info to Know

By Farah Al-Khojai – 5th December 2018

Are you considering the idea of starting a new life in Dubai with your cat? If you’re coming from overseas, the thought of leaving a pet behind is heartbreaking. But if you are determined to take your feline friend with you, you should get to know the requirements you have to comply with to ensure that you can do just that.

Abu Dhabi Airport and Dubai rescue cat
Abu Dhabi Airport and Dubai rescue cat. Both images in the public domain.
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The UAE Federal National Council has released regulations regarding pet ownership in Dubai. It’s important that you adhere to these laws and all legal requirements so that you can bring along your feline friend with ease.

Here’s everything you need to know about cat ownership so that both you and your pet can live a happy life in Dubai.


Dubai and the UAE, in general, have become more meticulous regarding pet ownership. Below are the following rules that you need to be aware of:

  • You should have a signed letter of approval from your landowner to own a pet.
  • All pets must be licensed, vaccinated, and microchipped. Without these, it would be impossible for you to register your cat with the Dubai Municipality or secure an ID tag.
  • All pets must be registered annually.
  • You can’t bring along your cat with you in public parks, beaches, and shopping malls.
  • Your pet is welcome in other public areas but you’re obliged to put your cat on a leash at all times.
  • Always clean up after your pet.
  • Private ownership of exotic pets is permanently banned.

Requirements you need to present during registration, tagging and vaccination:

  • Passport with a valid UAE visa or an Emirates ID
  • Proof of residence in Dubai
  • Pet vaccination card containing microchip details and up-to-date annual vaccinations

Keep in mind that there may be only a few places that will allow you to bring your cat. And although paid pet parks exist, you may have to include taking your pet out for a walk in your budget as it can get costly.

Fines and Penalties

Failure to control your pet may cost you fines ranging from AED 10,000 to AED 1,000,000.

Here is a list of fines you should pay attention to:

  • AED 700,000 to AED 1,000,000 or a jail term – for using an animal to terrorize an individual
  • Three to seven years in prison – for the pet owner if the animal attacks an individual and causes permanent disability
  • Life imprisonment – for the pet owner if the animal attack has led to a person’s death
  • AED 50,000 to AED 500,000 or a jail term – for possessing a dangerous animal for trading intentions
  • AED 50,000 to AED 200,000 or one-year jail term– for using an animal for scientific experiments without an official license

By introducing stricter penalties for violators and tightening the leash on pet ownership, the UAE government hopes that pet owners will control their animals better.

Dubai skyline. Photo in public domain.

Tips on Taking Your Cat Along

Before you board a plane with your cat, you need to ensure that everything is in order. First of all, your pet’s well-being is a priority so make sure to bring with you some cat food and other pet essentials. Other than that, you will also need to ensure the following documents are in order:

  • Import paper – This is a document you need to get from the Ministry of Environment and Water in the UAE which applies to not more than two animals and is only valid for 30 days.
  • Veterinary certificate for UAE – This must be stamped by a government authority in your home country who is responsible for the import and export of animals.
  • Proof of internal and external parasite treatment – This will serve as an evidence that your pet has undergone parasite treatment within 10 days of arrival.
  • Vaccination card – This should display current vaccinations and other obligatory immunizations for every pet.
  • ISO standard chip – This is for your pet’s identification.

Approved Entry Points

Your cat may need to enter the UAE as a manifested cargo through an approved entry point. Make sure to contact your airline in advance and ask about pet carrier and pet policies. Besides the Dubai Airport, here are other approved entry points in the UAE:

  • Abu Dhabi Airport
  • Sharjah International Airport
  • Fujairah International Airport
  • Ras Al-Khaimah Airport
  • Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi
  • Al Ain Airport
  • Ajman International Airport

Before you bring your cat to Dubai, it’s important that you’re familiar with everything you need to know about pet ownership. Although having a pet in the City of Gold may seem initially challenging, all your efforts will be worth it once you get to be with your beloved feline friend.


Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.

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1 thought on “Cat Ownership in Dubai: Laws, Tips and Other Local Info to Know”

  1. Hardly meticulous of the FNC to omit spaying & neutering from the rules is it?

    Street cats anywhere in the UAE have a thoroughly rotten time of it. They have no protection and there are very few people involved in rescue.


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