Alert. Leslie Muncey, top, says neutering cats helps in keeping them safe Image Credit: GN Archives

Dubai: A prominent animal group has called upon residents to keep cats indoors, and in enclosures if necessary, as thousands of pets are lost, stolen or killed in the UAE.

Speaking to XPRESS, Lesley Muncey, founder of Feline Friends, said: “There has been a huge spurt in the number of cats that are getting lost, stolen, run over or killed in recent days. We strongly recommend that pet owners keep their cats indoors. Those living in villas can even build cat enclosures to ensure they are safe.”

Muncey urged apartment owners not to allow their cats into the balcony as there are many cases of high-rise syndrome. High-rise syndrome is the phenomenon of cats falling from high-rises and injuring themselves. The injuries could include broken bones, shattered teeth, leg and joint injuries and internal injuries to vital organs.

Reasonable cost

She said villa residents must consider the option of cat enclosures. “They can be built at a reasonable cost and can be designed in such a way that the cat can move around freely and have things to climb on and play around.”

She said pet owners must also get their cats neutered if they wish to protect them. “Cats that are not neutered tend to get lost as they go out in search of a mate. Neutering needs to be done even to control the population of cats – we have reached a crisis level almost as one female cat can have at least three litters in a year, with each litter yielding around six cats.”

Muncey said pet owners must also take the responsibility of getting their cats registered at the national microchipping database. A microchip for a cat like updated vaccinations, including one against rabies, is a must, she said, noting that pets without a collar could be picked up by pest control companies and destroyed.

She said the thumb rule to secure the pet’s surroundings is to make it difficult for it to escape. This is true even when a cat is being transported in a vehicle as cats will try and find a way out of a cage if it isn’t securely fastened.