Two men and a cat

Living with a feline gives Oliver Robinson a new insight into Dubai life

The Knowledge

On moving to Dubai, I inherited a cat. It’s an odd thing to inherit, granted, but it just worked out that way. My flatmate had bought the cat with his partner, but they broke up, I moved in and the cat remained throughout. So there we were: two men and a cat.

They say there are cat people and dog people. I’m neither. I like dogs and I like cats. They’re both four-legged, furry and have a tail – what’s the difference?

A lot, apparently. For one, it seems that while it’s okay for men to own a dog, two men sharing a flat and owning a cat has all sorts of connotations. Whenever I mention we have a cat, I get a funny look – raised eyebrows, a wry smile and a knowing nod. I can tell what you’re thinking, but no: it’s not like that. The cat was there when I moved in, I inherited it, I… Wait, why am I making excuses?

The second thing I learned about cats is that they’re not really made for Dubai, or rather Dubai isn’t made for cats. While a two-bedroom apartment is big enough for two fully grown men, it’s by no means big enough for a small feline. It’s easy to forget that once upon a time, cats used to be wild animals – mini lions, if you will – that would roam free, chasing Neolithic mice or whatever the equivalent was back then. Today, however, our mini lion only has a couple of bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen to content herself with, meaning she spends every day bouncing around the flat like a furry pinball, stopping only to claw at the upholstery, scratch around in her litter tray or hop up onto the bed each morning for no other reason than to stick her rear end in my face.

I daresay that if I had the choice, I wouldn’t wilfully buy a pet in Dubai unless I happened to live in a big, airy villa in the Springs. But I’ve inherited this cat, so there’s not a great deal I can do other than get on with it.
This isn’t to say that I resent her – I’ve actually grown rather fond of her. Besides, having something to worry about other than myself lends a new perspective to life in Dubai. In a place where people tend to come and go and do as they please, it’s nice to have a sense of responsibility, even if it does mean enduring the wry smiles and knowing looks when I mention the fact we’re two men and a cat.

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