Abu Dhabi: While street cats are being euthanised to control their population, Feline Friends is concerned about pet cats suffering the same fate.
There have been cases of people losing their pet cats who have been wearing collars and a number of people have lost their "street cats" marked with 'V's in their ears.
In the past, cats that were sterilised by Feline Friends (FF) had a surgically shaped V performed on their ear to differentiate them from non-sterilised cats. Those cats are let free in the streets and are said to live healthier lives and are more immune to diseases.
As per an agreement with FF and Abu Dhabi Municipality, pest control companies are trapping as many stray cats as possible to reduce the number of street cats in the Abu Dhabi Emirate by 70 per cent. The cats are transported to the American Veterinary Clinic (AVC) to be euthanised in a non-painful procedure.
Anita Signorino, FF Coordinator, told Gulf News two cats have been reported missing in a designated area in the Al Rowdha district. Areas like Al Rowdha have a lot of expatriates who own cats and most of the time even pay to sterilise street cats in that area.
"On Sunday I received a call in the evening from a concerned person regarding a street cat that she had helped sterilise. The cat had a V shape in its ear to differentiate it from other non-sterilised cats. She took a look at five cats that were trapped that night by one of the trapping companies, but still failed to find her cat. The trapping team confirmed that they had trapped 22 cats that night and the rest were already in the van," said Signorino.
"I found the van in the Al Rowdha area and checked for the van with the five trapped cats. None of the cats had V's or collars and we were disappointed to find that they had two adult cats per cage. We were also unhappy that the trappers were not well-equipped. They did not carry torch lights to help them check for collars and V's in the dark," she said.
The general manager of the company said it was company policy to carry torches and there was no need to put two cats in a cage as they had more than 75 cages.
While on the site, Signorino heard the supervisor of the trapping team tell another member of the public that they would be trapping near that area again the next day.
Last Monday, two days after the incident, another member of the public contacted FF about a lost kitten that was too young to be sterilised and had been given a collar to make sure she was safe from the trapping team until she could be sterilised and have a V in her ear.
Another complaint reached FF about two missing sterilised cats with V's. The area is handled by a second trapping company.
"This company has the habit of taking some of these cats to another hospital for euthanasia when the AVC is not able to do it. I just hope that the hospital is as careful when checking for microchips, collars and V's," said Signorino.
"I hope that all the cats being trapped are being taken to the AVC to be checked for microchips, collars and V's before being euthanised and that none of them are being dumped in Mussafah or the outskirts of Abu Dhabi," added Signorino.