Animal Welfare

Shadow

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UPDATE- Good news, Shadow is flying to America on the 17th May to get his happy ending. He is such a sweetheart, am sure his new family will love him as much as we do.

Shadow was spotted outside a mosque eating rice that had been put out for the birds and when he moved was limping badly, only using three legs. It was obvious he was struggling and did not belong on the streets, especially as when he was approached he didn’t run away, just laid beside us and wanted a stroke.

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On a visit to the vet we discovered he had broken both his leg and tail, they had since healed but there is muscle wastage on the injured side as he doesn’t fully weight bear, he remembers the pain. He was only between 2-3 months old when rescued, so had an awful start in life. We will never know how he got his injuries or when he was dumped on the streets, all we know is it astoundingly hasn’t affected his trust in humans, he is a really sweet boy.

Shadow is now doing amazingly, he can almost jump kitchen counter height and is getting stronger daily; he does still walk with a slight limp but the vet believes with time he should fully recover.  He can run really fast (which he does a lot) and flies up the stairs; when he is running he now uses the leg correctly, forgetting the past pain, so is slowly building up his muscle.  It is believed he is a Norwegian Forest / Bengal mix; so he will be a big cat when fully grown.

We would love to keep him but our older cats are not impressed. Shadow loves to play and chases everything that moves (our poor older cats and sometimes your ankles if he is bored).  Very importantly, if you don’t have another playful cat, you will need to play with him – throwing balls, a toy on a stick etc. Obviously, he is a kitten so play is normal behaviour but with Shadow, that urge to chase and pounce is strong, probably his Bengal roots. He is very affectionate and loves to be with you, he isn’t a lap cat but will want to sit beside you, he is called Shadow because he literally follows me everywhere.

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  • Age: 4 – 5 months
  • Vaccinated: Yes
  • Microchipped: Yes
  • Spayed/neutered: Yes
  • Good with other cats: Yes, but not older cats who want to chill.
  • Good with dogs: Unknown
  • Good with children: Yes – preferably older children. Due to his old leg injury, don’t want the risk of him being dropped or pulled around too much.
  • FIV/FeLV negative
  • Available for adoption in the USA: Yes.

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Cat rescue – Zima & family

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In Qatar, we have a lot of sad animal cases, if you follow some of the rescue groups you would pull your hair out and not know where to start! Personally, I try to stick to TNR (Trap Neuter Return) as that is about prevention but of course, working on the streets means you come across cases who need help and numerous dumped pets. This latest case though I didn’t find on the streets but saw on a popular Qatar facebook page…should never look at them!

Zima’s Story

Zima first day

Zima was abandoned by her owner, the owner moved away leaving Zima behind at the house where she had been living. The people who were sharing the property didn’t want a cat and they certainly didn’t want a cat who then gave birth to three kittens! They put an advert on a Facebook site offering the kittens for free – literally just go and pick one up, as if they were toys! The kittens were only about a 1 week old and still feeding from mum; as these are cute Persian kittens plus offered for free, loads of people responded saying they wanted a kitten and would go and get one. I read the post with horror seeing the photographs showing newly born kittens and quickly responded saying the kittens were far too young to give away, the person replied saying they were giving them away because they couldn’t afford to feed them, at which point I offered to bring them food but please not to give the kittens away.

A heartbreaking visit to the family to give the food saw the reality of where mum and kittens were living and how they were really not wanted; mum looked so sad and was so so thin but such a good mum, her kittens looked healthy and she was very protective of them hiding them under a kitchen cabinet to try and keep them safe. I was devastated to have to leave them there but had nowhere to take them having my own cats and a new rescue at home.

Zima rescue

Following a sleepless night worrying about them I received a text message the next day from the people saying they simply couldn’t keep them, unfortunately, the food hadn’t bought the family time. I desperately contacted a fellow cat rescuer asking if she could help find a foster home but I literally needed it in the next few hours! She performed a miracle and found a wonderful foster home for the whole family. Now that they had somewhere safe to go I drove across town to collect the family, on arrival there it was almost like the mother cat knew help had finally come, on placing the carrier down mother cat calmly walked in it and sat down, as if she sensed a better life was just around the corner.

A visit to the vet confirmed that the kittens were all in good health but mum was in a very poor state. She had a vitamin injection but couldn’t be vaccinated because she was just too weak. It was also discovered she has hardly any teeth, therefore must have been really struggling to eat at all. However, they were given the all clear to move into the foster home. Thankfully she also tested negative for FIV.

Zima (Slavic for winter), as she was named by her foster mum, and her family moved into 5-star accommodation! Their very own room with fleece blankets and soft food that mum could eat. They must have thought they had landed in paradise!

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Paradise is where they still are but the next challenge is finding good homes for them and covering all the veterinary costs of 4 cats – spaying, vaccination, antibiotics, worming etc.  Good homes in Qatar are hard to come by and that is putting it mildly. A lot of rescuers ship abroad to America or the UK in the search for forever homes, an extremely expensive option! I hope it won’t come to that, divorce will be in the air soon as my long-suffering husband hears about the next cat rescue problem but we just can’t ignore the plight of the animals around us and help where we can.

A happy update – all three kittens have been adopted by Canadian families, lucky babies will one day end up in Canada, a far cry from where they started life. Now just mum needs her happy ending.

Zima latest

The Ginger Challenge

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Saving lives - TNR

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is so frustrating when you mess up a trap opportunity the first time around, in this case, I firmly blame my cat Snickers; here she is this time messing up my painting, luckily the tray was empty of paint!

We had recently moved to a compound and this stunning ginger cat had been coming in my garden and spraying the walls to mark his territory, as tom cats are prone to do. I decided it was time to trap him and sort this situation out.

The scene is set, the trap is in place and I am patiently inside watching from the window just above the trap but out of sight. Ginger, enticed by the smell of tuna is edging into the trap and almost on the plate (they step on the plate and it triggers the door to shut), when Snickers unseen by me, comes into the room…

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Get the cowboy boots ready!

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Saving lives - TNR

Don’t miss out on the chance to learn how to line dance. Great company and with a 2-hour happy hour; I know that doesn’t read quite right..but 2 hours it is!

Get your ticket, put it in the diary and ride up with your cowboy hats and boots to the TNRQ boot scoot. Yeehaa!

All for a good cause, help the community cats of Qatar.

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The fight for survival

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20181107_150851So I am back in the Middle East and back seeing the animals trying to survive on the streets of Qatar, it is heartbreaking, makes me want to hide away from the cruel sights and live in an ivory tower where it is all about the fancy malls and Friday brunches, head-in-the-sand technique, ironic statement I know considering I am living in a desert country!

I drove out the compound this morning and on the first corner saw a stray dead dog covered in blood, probably run over in the night. By the time I drove back from the school run, the body had been cleared away, shame my memory of that poor dog won’t be as quickly erased! Sadly the stray dogs here are also at risk of being shot or poisoned, I also always wonder how on earth they find food, cats can jump in bins to search for food but the dogs must really struggle, perhaps they rely on human kindness, never advisable – sorry, I am sounding bitter!

I just went to help a lady trap a cat to be taken to the vet to be spayed, it is so nice the lady is helping the cats on her compound, only to hear from her that she found one dead that morning, she thinks the cat was poisoned by a neighbour who doesn’t like cats, will this be the fate of the cat I just dropped at the vets? Very sad to think it might, so yes, today I am feeling a bit bitter.

The compound where I live has quite a few stray cats living there but unfortunately, some of the humans don’t like this, some have complained to the management, they say having cats around is unhygienic – OK, so if you remove all the cats bring on the rats! Cats are actually very clean animals and perfectly healthy if TNRed and part of a managed colony, which brings me actually on to what I was supposed to be talking about, TNR – Trap Neuter Return.

I have done TNR now in many countries (Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Philippines, Dubai and Kuwait), so I just as well add Qatar to my list. TNR works; as long as unwanted/unfixed pets don’t get dumped into the colony (happens a lot). For example, by some strange coincidence, I stopped by a dumpster where a cat was climbing the rubbish bags searching for food, I wanted to get a photo of how life for the street cats is to add to this post. I approached slowly so not to scare the cat but low and behold the cat jumped down to the floor ran towards me and 20181107_150652wrapped herself around my legs crying loudly – this was no street cat! Closer inspection she had stunning blue eyes and looked very much like a Siamese – yes someones dumped pet! From a distance, I thought she was a street cat but when you look at the close-up photo, you can see she isn’t! Poor baby, shame on whoever did this to her.

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I am preparing a document for our compound management to try and get their support to run a TNR program here, I hope they will agree. For those of you wondering what exactly TNR is, the below poster illustrates it well, if you would like to know about it in more detail, please follow this link: https://www.alleycat.org/our-work/trap-neuter-return/

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There are many groups of animal lovers all around Qatar working to help the animals. A lot of people raise money to fly the dogs out of the country to homes they have found for them abroad; it is very difficult to find homes for big dogs here. There are wonderful Facebook groups showing these dogs loving their second chance at life, here is just one example of such a group: https://www.facebook.com/pupswithpassports/ 

cats-offspring

My area of animal welfare has always really been TNR, for every cat we spay we stop yet more kittens having to survive on the streets, that in itself is an achievement. Have a look at the chart on the left to get an idea of how many kittens an unfixed pair can produce!

The difficult part of TNR is to pay for all the vets’ bills, so I am going to donate 20% from the sale of my Original Art to build a fund for spaying and neutering, it is never enough but it is a start. When I leave the Middle East at least a few poor souls will have been helped, sorting out the massive animal welfare issues here might unfortunately not happen in my lifetime.

Tomorrow is another day, I will pick myself up, stop ranting and just get on with it again like all animal rescuers do, it is the happy endings that keep us going.

 

Tiny Souls

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At the moment we are living in Kuwait, where there are sadly never ending problems with stray animals, dumped animals and cruelty cases. It is very frustrating and makes you feel so helpless in face of the enormity of the situation, it will unfortunately take time before any major improvements are seen. I could write pages on this subject alone but the aim of this post is to tell the tale of two tiny Arabian Mau’s who my husband rescued in Kuwait, whilst my daughter and I were on holiday in the UK.

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Tiny and helpless

On his morning jog, he found a tiny tabby kitten in the middle of the road, literally pulling himself along (he was so young, he couldn’t even walk properly yet). My husband did the right thing (I trained him well), he found the kittens litter mate in a nearby bush, and placed the tabby back, in the hope that mum would return; a lot of people don’t realise that the females leave their kittens whilst they go out searching for food, they only return to feed them. Often people pick up what they think are abandoned kittens but if they are in quite good shape, mum probably just left them temporarily. Anyway, unfortunately in this case, mum didn’t return; in Kuwait the way they control the animal population is by poisoning, so mum might have gone that unfortunate route, or else could have got run over, but the main point was, she wasn’t coming back.

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After a bath

So into our spare bathroom they went. At this stage they were probably only about a week old, so the hard work started with the round the clock bottle feeds, my husband had taken on a project! Thankfully he knew what he was doing, as our cats were found down a storm drain in the Philippines when they were just a few days old, tied in a plastic bag, sometimes you have to wonder about mankind!

Trip to the vet
Trip to the vet

Well the new babies are now about 7 weeks and slowly gaining strength.They have had their first trip to the vet for vaccinations, something they didn’t enjoy at all, well who can blame them really! Now we have the massive challenge of finding them a forever home. Unfortunately there is a severe lack of good homes for animals in Kuwait, we might even have to ship them to the UK or the USA in the search for the perfect home for them, a very expensive option.

In the meantime, they are growing steadily, even though they now look quite big in the latest photo, they are still only tiny babies and weigh about 1 pound each! I hope the perfect home is out there for them, the search is now on!

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Fast forward a few months and unfortunately as predicted, no good home in Kuwait has been found. However, through a few amazing people, they should be on a flight to America soon to start their new life. It will be so sad to say goodbye (quite a few tears have already been shed) but wonderful for them to get this opportunity, plus our older cats will be so happy to have their peaceful life back.
Below are some photos of how they look now, quite the posers! I hope their new forever home, will love them as much as we do.
 Latest update: they are now living in America with their new family – happy endings are sometimes possible!