DUBAI A group of volunteers and a veterinary clinic are working together to help bring down the street cat population of Dubai.
On Wednesday morning, six women who form the Bin Kitty Collective Rescue descended upon a near-empty construction site at Dubai Investment Park's Green Community to carry out the first stage of Operation: Snip and Tuck, an initiative to neuter and spay Dubai's street cats, one neighbourhood at a time.
As each cat was trapped with the lure of food and put into a carrier, it was transported to the Al Barsha Veterinary Clinic where three vets worked round the clock to spay and neuter the animals for free.
Kirsten Davidson, Kylie Mohseni, Sue Cowen, Joanne Worman, Linda Tedd and Sarina Koerth managed to trap the majority of the cats from the construction site, to have them neutered/spayed, treated for wounds and released back into the wild.
"It's no secret that there are more cats in the city than we know what to do with. An average female cat will have between two and three litters a year, of four to six kittens per litter. At that rate, this group of 40-odd cats in Green Community would have grown to over 200 cats by the end of the year," explains Davidson.
Within five hours, the six women had gathered 32 cats. By night time, the majority of the cats were released back into their habitats. A handful stayed behind. "We're going to keep some of the smaller, friendlier cats and foster, train and vaccinate them so as to rehome them. In an ideal world, all these cats would be rehomed. But we have to face the facts. Some are just too wild to be tamed. But at least we're safe in the knowledge that they won't create more kittens destined to a hard life on the streets," says Davidson.
Vet Ellen Kruijnin encourages "each person to bring in just one stray cat to our clinic and all through the month of March, we'll neuter the cat for free".
"Just this alone would help reduce the future cat population tremendously. All six of us from the Bin Kitty Collective are career women with full-time jobs. Surely, there are more working people out there whose compassion for cats would lead them to creating the time to save these animals," says Davidson.
"Those interested should go to Al Barsha Veterinary [Clinic] or contact us through our Facebook page Bin Kitty Collective. At the moment, all expenses towards street cats come from our pockets," she says. "Anyone willing to donate or contribute in any way will be a great help: Not just to us, but to the thousands of street cats all over the country."