Abu Dhabi Has The Most Humane Program For Stray Cat Populations

Mayar Ibrahim

The Abu Dhabi Executive Council started Trap-Neuter-Return of feral cats in 2008. This program is the most humane and effective way of controlling the stray cat population in Abu Dhabi. It is also carried out by Abu Dhabi Animal Shelter which is managed by Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.

TNR reached international standards when the Abu Dhabi Executive Council decided to follow international animal welfare guidelines. This accomplishment happened in 2010.

Trap-Neuter-Return is a milestone program for feral cat control in the Arab world

Community volunteer groups are the ones who usually carry out such programs. However, the Abu Dhabi government is the first to establish such an initiative in the Middle East.

TNR plans to neuter, microchip, vaccinate and treat feral cats against worms and fleas. While also entering them in an established database to set up their records for future reference.

First someone traps the cats and brings them to the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

Then someone registers the cats in the hospital’s system. Thereafter, the veterinary team takes the registered cats and conducts a physical examination. In the examination, the team determines the gender of the cat and implants a microchip.

Additionally, the file includes the microchip sticker and information of who brought in the cat and where it was caught.

The vets conduct physical examination of the cats and divides them into three groups as part of the Trap-Neuter-Release program

  1. Healthy cats of end of 3rd months of age or older for castration
  2. Sick cats are first treated. Following their recovery, the vets neuter the cats.
  3. Very sick cats that either suffer from infectious cat diseases
    1. FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis)
    2. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
    3. FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
    4. Other serious diseases or are in life-threatening conditions already.

If a cat suffers from infectious cat diseases, it falls into the vet’s hands to decide. The vets face two options: humanely euthanize the cat or treat it, only if treatment is possible.

Vets castrate the healthy cats as soon as they arrive. However, the latest a vet castrates a cat is 72 hours after its arrival. After the surgery, the veterinary team gives each cat antibiotics. Then, the team vaccinates each cat against rabies and cat diseases. They also deworm every cat routinely and apply flea protective agents.

The vets also give booster vaccines to the neutered cats and transfer them to the cattery for a possible adoption! However, someone returns and releases extremely aggressive cats to their original habitat.

The team still microchips aggressive cats and clips the tip of their left ear. This procedure is to ensure the public recognises these cats as neutered and vaccinated.

Finally, someone releases the neutered and vaccinated cats back to their original habitat

If the cats face no complications in their healing process, someone takes the cat and releases it to its original location within 7 days. Stray cats are very territorial, so the team cannot relocate them because these cats will get lost in a new territory.

Don’t fret! Once the team neuters and releases the cats, the trap-neuter-return program is not over. A team monitors the colony of stray cats for newcomers.


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