As Friends of Animals launches weekly cat and kitten adoption days, Holly Sands spends an afternoon surrounded by homeless felines and discovers that there’s more than one way to help out
‘Be careful he doesn’t get out,’ I’m warned, as I open the door to the adoption-day quarters of Jasper, an amber-eyed feline, and one of the many currently looking for a new owner. I soon realise the real danger isn’t that he’ll make a break for it, but that it will be almost impossible for me to put down this affectionate, purring ball of fur once I’ve had a cuddle. Somehow, I muster the willpower.
Jasper is one of more than 20 felines currently being fostered by the generous souls in the Friends of Animals network. The organisation doesn’t take ‘found’ cats, but it helps those who have taken in felines to find permanent homes for them. Some of these cats, like Jasper, show signs of being abandoned by previous owners, while others were born strays. All are in need of a permanent, loving home with owners who understand the responsibility they’re taking on, and are prepared to commit for life, not just until they’re ready to leave the city and move elsewhere.
The adoption days now take place weekly, every Saturday at The City Vet on Al Wasl Road. Fortunately, Montserrant Martin, founder and president of the organisation, says the turnout has been ‘fantastic’. This is not only thanks to the potential new owners who show up, but the efforts of the fosterers, rescuers and volunteers who help out, as well as the clinic, which allows them to use the facilities every week, and provides them with discounts on sterilisation, vaccination, microchipping, registration and de-worming for the animals before they move to their new homes.
Montserrant is keen to make it clear that the group doesn’t take in cats, but provides assistance for Dubaians who have done so under their own steam. ‘We give rescuers and fosterers a platform facility to help the pets they are caring for,’ she explains. ‘We take the cats’ photos, add their details and advertise until a reliable “forever home” is found.’ The group accepts new cats for its adoption days every week, but prioritises the most urgent cases. The longest they’ve ever held onto a cat for is seven months, but typically it will range from 24 hours to ten weeks. If you aren’t in a position to adopt, they are keen to hear from people about strays in their area who they may be able to manage with their ‘trap, neuter, release’ campaign (TNR), or those who believe they are able to open their homes to foster cats. And if you put yourself forward, they won’t just hand you a feline and wave you off – their first priority is the welfare of each cat. As such, you can expect to be vetted yourself, but also given the necessary support.
To find out more about how you can help, Friends of Animals encourages visitors to attend its weekly adoption days. Just don’t blame us if you can’t tear yourself away. Saturdays noon-4pm, The City Vet, Al Wasl Road. www.friendsofanimalsdxb.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Animals in need of fostering
Cats and dogs A number of organisations work tirelessly to rescue, rehome and TNR (trap, neuter, release) the city’s abandoned and stray felines and canines, as well as educating the public on how to help. These include Dubai Animal Welfare Society, Feline Friends, K9 Friends, The Bin Kitty Collective (search Facebook for page), Jebel Ali Cats and 38 Smiles. All depend on the generosity of volunteers and fosterers. www.facebook.com/dubaianimalwelfarecentredawc, www.felinefriendsdubai.com, www.k9friends.com, www.jebelali cats.org, www.38smiles.com. Great Danes It may seem surprisingly specific, but Dubai now has an entire organisation devoted to re-homing this mighty yet gentle breed. If you’re interested in taking on one of these dogs, Great Danes in Dubai places a heavy emphasis on fully understanding what you’re taking on before you sign up. Though they have a lovely temperament, the dogs can place a lot of demand on their owners. www.greatdanesindubai.com. Rabbits, tortoises and beyond Before you head to the pet shop, there are a few places you should check first. Dubizzle often lists rabbits under its ‘pets for adoption’ page, as does the website of Dubai’s Pets Habitat, a chain of grooming salons. You might also find the odd turtle, tortoise or fish, as well as more unusual creatures. www.dubizzle.com, www.petshopdubai.com.