ON WORK ASSIGNMENT IN ABU DHABI, ENGINEER TERRY MAIMONE ROLLS UP SLEEVES TO HELP CATS IN NEED.
Terry Maimone (L.) brought home 6 Arabian Mau rescues for adoption (one in middle photo) and worked with UAE rescue groups to help curb the stray cat population and care for those suffering under adverse conditions.
Our careers as engineers at a large defense contractor led my husband and I to an extended assignment in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Living in Abu Dhabi for a year officially turned me into a Crazy Cat Lady. Almost immediately upon arrival, I encountered a new type of cat I’d never seen before, the Arabian Mau. These sleek, exotic looking cats with beautiful markings in every color and pattern were EVERYWHERE. Within a couple days of setting up shop in our military base facility, I started feeding the cats on site and had a mother cat bring her two kittens into our building. Thus began my quest to help and rescue the stray cats of Abu Dhabi.
There are very serious issues with stray and abandoned cats in the UAE. The situation is tragic and heartbreaking. I joined a Facebook group called “the bin kitty collective” which is made up of over 17,000 members from around the world. The group is dedicated to TNR, rescue and rehoming of cats in the UAE. Every day my news feed was filled with cats that had been abused, abandoned (including Persians and other long haired breed cats left to fend for themselves outdoors in the sweltering heat), injured, sick, and cats needing adoption or fostering. The “fluffies” (basically any cat that is not an Arabian Mau) are adopted the fastest with some of the Arabian cats living in foster care or vet boarding cages for years.
The reasons for the desperate situation are many including lack of education regarding the value of animal’s lives, lack of TNR education, relatively widespread belief that sterilization goes against moral principles, irresponsible breeding practices and a population made up of many foreigners who often have to leave the country with short notice and choose to abandon their pets if they cannot afford to take them to their home country.
Members of Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi care for strays around the city and on Lulu Island (bridge photo) where many felines make a home.
The saving grace to the dismal situation is that there are formal rescue and a lot of great people working independently through the more informal rescue groups. These groups work selflessly to TNR, rescue, rehabilitate, foster cats and educate the populace. The rescue groups are doing great work to get local hotels and businesses to set up feeding stations and sterilization programs. The local vets are doing everything they can to help by offering discounted rates to rescue groups. Additionally, there are groups of people who work to have cats adopted overseas, mostly in Europe. Sadly it seems that all of these efforts aren’t keeping up with the numbers of cats needing assistance. I do have hope that awareness is increasing along with the number of people helping and that this cat crisis will be brought under control in the coming years.
I did what I could to help while I was there. I had two females spayed and a male neutered. I brought 6 Arabian Maus back to the US with me, donated money to the various rescue groups, and helped pay off some medical bills for other rescuers. I hope to continue bringing awareness to the ongoing situation. If you’re interested in helping, contact some of the formal rescue organizations or leave question/comments for us here.
See: Animal Welfare AD, Feline Friends, Sandy Paws.
From Animal Planet: About Arabian Maus
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