Is there a cat-shaped hole in your life? We feel you. The good news is there are hundreds of sweet little felines in the UAE waiting for their forever homes. Some are street-cat rescues while others are abandoned kitties left by emigrating families (yes, that happens), but the common denominator with these homeless pets is they all need a little human love and affection. Adopting a cat can be amazingly rewarding and brilliant company, but there’s a lot to consider before offering up your sofa to a furry friend. We spoke to Joy, volunteer at cat charity Kittysnip to find out everything you need to know about adopting a cat in the UAE.
1. Get to know local charities
There are lots of UAE animal charities offering rescue cats for adoptions such as Kittysnip, Red Paw Foundation, Animal Action UAE, and 38 Smiles to name but a few. Note that any charities that ask for a donation to adopt (as is common to cover essential vet treatments given while in their care) must be registered under the Emirate Animal Welfare Society and follow their guidelines.
2. Choose your cat wisely
“Don’t be fooled by looks alone, personality is far more important when it comes to pets. Different pets suit different people and they need to fit in with your lifestyle and your home, be it a studio apartment or huge villa with a garden,” says Joy. So if you live in a studio you probably want a lazy, placid cat. Similarly, if you work long hours perhaps consider getting a pair to keep each other company. You don’t want a lonely kitty.
3. Speak to the cat’s foster parents
Many homeless cats with a charity will be staying with foster parents who will be able to give you the lowdown on their temperament and likes and dislikes. You can also meet the cats before adopting them, as many charities run meet and greet adoption days (see details below), but remember animals can be shy when meeting new people and may not be quite themselves – understandable!
4. Make sure your adoptee is healthy and ready for a new home
As mentioned in number 1, depending on who you adopt from, you may be asked for a fee to cover the cost of the vaccinations, deworming and sterilisation of the kitty. Joy notes that Kittysnip insist on the animal being sprayed or neutered at around 5-6 months as it prevents more litters of homeless cats, and calms males. You’ll be given a vaccination book for your pet which also acts as their passport. You’ll also need to purchase a Dubai municipality tag to register their pet under their name with the government which is super important - it is renewed annually and linked to their rabies vaccination.
5. Consider where your cat will go for his/her holidays
Love a weekend away or week-long jaunt to Sri Lanka? Before you adopt it’s really important to consider what will happen to your furry friend when you go on holiday and make sure you have a friend or colleague who can look after them. If not, there are many cat hotels or professional pet sitters who will come to your home each day. “For cats, budget between Dhs75 to Dhs100 per day for a sitter or boarding. They generally prefer to stay in their own home, and if you have more than one cat it is very easy to just have someone pop in every one to two days to ensure they have enough food as they would have each other for company,” Joy explains
6. Remember it’s a long-term commitment
“It is a must that if you adopt a pet, you plan and are able to take it with you if you leave the UAE permanently,” says Joy, adding that it’s surprisingly easy to do and there are even pet relocation companies in the UAE. Costs do vary though, so double check how much the fees back to your country are and if you can afford them. If you don’t think relocation would be an option, you can always become a fosterer and offer a pet a loving home while they wait to be adopted – win-win for both you and the cat.
All set? Click here to see when Kittysnip’s next adoption day is – there are so many cats waiting for you…
Images Instagram @catinberlin, @merlinragdoll, @british_cowboy @zappa_the_cat