There they were. A cozy cuddle of six kittens closely snuggled up directly under my car tire. Thank goodness when I pulled out of the garage for the morning school commute that they were in front of the wheel and not behind. It could have been a terribly traumatic experience for Mini. Just as the bunny on the road was for his brother when he was about the same age.
I have been rescuing animals since….forever. Not the hardcore search and rescue that some of the expats and organizations here in Abu Dhabi take on but I have been a refuge for animals in need since I was a small child. I have rescued and rehabilitated about every animal imaginable. Moles, ducks, squirrels, birds, raccoons, pigs, dogs, cats…they’ve all spent a little time in my childhood recovery unit — which basically means, the bath tub.
Babies with lost mommies, birds with broken wings, pigs with squashed legs, kittens the dog chewed on, baby moles who were starving, dogs who were abandoned….you name it and I have experienced it.
So why was I so surprised to find a litter of kittens under my car tire? Because I do not understand why one of the wealthiest countries on the planet has an abandoned pet/over-population problem, because, well, we can afford to do better.
Sometimes I spend my time dreaming up solutions for the problem such as these (slightly joking. no, I am not. yes, I am):
1. With every UAE visa comes a free kitten. Like it or not, when you arrive you will receive an abandoned kitten. It’s not too much to ask really. You are probably making decent money and cats are relatively easy to care for so it’s a small favor to ask in order to maintain our quality of life as a whole. And this way our children are not exposed to a regular supply of squashed kitties on the road which is terribly traumatic and sad.
2. We must pay, up front, for the repatriation of our animals. There’s a reason why the UAE forces employers to pay the cost of repatriating their employers. If they didn’t this place would end up looking like Boston, L.A. or D.C. Homeless expats sleeping in the parks etc. Instead, expat pets are left behind fending for themselves in heat of the desert sun. Again, terribly sad.
3. We pay the labourers a bounty to catch cats on Fridays so they can then be neutered and released. Win-win. Right? I personally do not want to get all smelly and gross trying to catch a cat in summer temps.
4. We create these giant feeding stations that not only feed but also capture the cats for neutering/spaying. We can strategically place them throughout the city. Maybe Purina would like to sponsor and we can slap a big advert on the side of it.
5. We create educational programs for the school aged children to address the proper care and treatment of animals (definitely, not joking). Cannot believe this isn’t already being done. Especially since there are pages of studies that show children who abuse animals have a high degree of deviant behavior as adults. Think little Jimmy is a problem now? Wait until he gets big and starts abusing his kids instead of, or in addition to, his puppy.
So what does one do with six crying kittens and a momma cat in Abu Dhabi? Well, I was very lucky to find a place for this fur family to go. The shelters are packed, the foster homes have given above and beyond, and the resources to deal with these issues are not sufficient to manage the problem. I was extremely lucky and thankful that a rescue organization took the fur family in because I have two dogs and one street cat that we’ve already taken in. The situation is so bad here it is literally raining cats and dogs!
I have come up with a few good reasons why you cannot take your pets back home when you repatriate.
1. You are dead.
2. Someone in your immediate family is dead.
3. You are in jail and being transferred via official governmental channels and can only talk to your attorney.
Okay, so if you are not dead or in jail but still cannot adopt a kitten or dog here’s other ways you can help. Pay the costs of a spay or neuter to the many animal hospitals and veterinary clinics who are responsible for spaying and neutering. Foster an animal for a week, month etc. Buy bags of dog/cat food and make arrangements to drop it off to the many people who feed the street animals. Organize a pet education program with one of the volunteer organizations that work with pets. Have a good idea on how to resolve this issue? Share it.
A huge thank you goes out to the many, many organizations that work tirelessly and selflessly to address the issue of pet abandonment/over-crowding in the UAE. These organizations are too many to list. If you want to help please contact Animal Action Abu Dhabi and they will direct you in the appropriate direction.
Do you like the art in this post? Take a look at the Paper Pets Tumblr site artist Elizabeth Graeber has created to help pets who are up for adoption across the USA. Maybe use this site for inspiration. How can you help the pet situation in the UAE? Do you have special skills or talents that could be of assistance? If so, let someone know!
Like my stuff? Sure you do. My rescue pets do too. Go ahead and share this post so that everyone in the UAE knows shelter pets are best. Like my stuff enough to sign up? Go ahead and enter your email address and you will receive my stuff right off of my finger tips! Woof. Woof. Meow. Meow.