Animal Lovers in Dhahran Rescue Stray Local Cats


DHAHRAN: In the hidden complex of Al-Mutlaq, located on the main road in the center of Dammam, Alkhobar and Dhahran, is a community of cat whisperers who rescue as many felines as possible.

Residents of the compound are considered by some local residents to be the saviors of many unwanted cats in the area. The problem started in 2016 when it started raining cats and finally cats. The area was overrun with stray animals that wandered around, had screaming and fur-stealing fights, and apparently terrorized any human night walkers they encountered.

With the increase in population, word quickly spread through the neighborhood that residents of the compound would welcome and care for these stray animals. This led to many residents of nearby neighborhoods dropping off unwanted kittens near the main gate and leaving.

These kittens strolled through the door, past the friendly security guards, and made themselves comfortable. A group of concerned locals noticed the overcrowding and decided to raise money so they could vaccinate and neuter these furry friends.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The group “Trap, Neuter and Return” is composed of Sally Brown, Jawahir “Juju” Islam, Rekha Nair, Laura Masoni and Sanaa Tarneem Mohammed. “We started this group’s TNR program in 2016 – that was when the problem was overwhelming. We always had cats in the compound, workers fed them, families fed them, but over time we saw a sudden upsurge in cats,” Mohammed said.

• It costs about SR300 ($79) for each TNR process so they turned to Sally Brown for help. She had lived in Riyadh and on the west coast and brought a wealth of information about being a doctor, and how to raise money to help these cats.

• Laura Masoni is responsible for the “dirty work” of trapping with her 10-year-old daughter. They lure the cat in with a small plate of food around 10 p.m. and check the trap in the morning at 6:30 a.m. Anyone who is trapped is announced on the social media group and then taken to the Advanced Pet Clinic. They must wrap the animals with towels so that they do not scratch their arms.

The group, made up mostly of expatriates, is the unofficial guardian of the Al-Mutlaq community’s “Trap, Neuter and Return” group, known as TNR. For these stray cats, TNR is the best option, according to Al-Mutlaq community members, as it allows these cats to be neutered and returned to their outside “homes”. This helps in controlling the health of the whole population and preventing the spread of disease.

When a cat has a “tilted ear”, this is the universally accepted method of identifying a neutered, neutered, and vaccinated feral cat. This means that a professional veterinarian has removed a small portion of the earmold to signal that the cat is healthy and has been examined.

The group consists of Sally Brown, Jawahir ‘Juju’ Islam, Rekha Nair, Laura Masoni and Sanaa Tarneem Mohammed. “We started this group’s TNR program in 2016 – that’s when the problem was overwhelming. We’ve always had cats in the compound, the workers fed them, the families fed them, but at the over time we have seen a sudden upsurge in cats,” Mohammed told Arab News.

“And the breeding cycles are pretty close, so they’re only four and a half months old, and then…they come into heat, so we’ll see cats everywhere, producing and breeding kittens back to back. We’ve found that people were giving up – literally at the gate of the enclosure – and so we would have all these abandoned cats being abandoned, trying to mark their territory and encroaching on the cats that were already there, and that led to a lot of fighting and friction.

We want them to be healthier. We want them to be able to survive in the wild because let’s face it, not all of us can allow cats to come in and stay with us. If you take care of a few of their needs and necessities like vaccinating, neutering and neutering them, they are happier. They are well fed. They live longer.

Sanaa Tarneem Mohammed

“My children couldn’t sleep because of the noise. We decided the issue was urgent enough to take a look at. Most of us are expats and we got together and decided now that we needed to take a look at this,” she said.

Before that, and sadly in many parts of the country, people would trap stray cats and kittens and dump them in the desert – just abandon them or poison their food.

“We decided no, we couldn’t take this. So we got together with the management of the compound, with the owners and the manager of the compound, and we signed an agreement, saying that (we would take) the ownership and the responsibility of creating a group that would look after to trap, neuter or sterilize cats. and release them in the same place we found them, to stabilize the population,” Mohammed said.

“So we did. And then we came together again and raised funds as a community. Of course, some of us didn’t agree with sterilization and sterilization because they think it’s un-Islamic and we’re in a Muslim country. But I did my own personal research on this. The hadith I read is that if it is (for) the betterment of the health of the cat, then neutering and neutering is okay, right? Because at the end of the day, we don’t take away from them… parenthood, we want them to live a better life.

“We want them to be healthier. We want them to be able to survive in the wild because let’s face it, not all of us can allow cats to come in and stay with us. If you take care of a few of their needs and necessities like vaccinating, neutering and neutering them, they are happier. They are well fed. They live longer,” Mohammed said.

It costs around SR300 ($79) for each TNR process so they turned to Sally Brown for help. She had lived in Riyadh and on the west coast and brought a wealth of information about being a doctor, and how to raise money to help these cats.

“I lived in the Kingdom for about 20 years, I lived in this compound for 11 years. I first got involved with TNR cats in Riyadh at National Guard Medical City because it was overrun with cats. It wasn’t too difficult (an) operation to perform because you had thousands of people living there. So we could work as a group.

Brown said that in Jeddah, in Rabigh, it was also not difficult to do so because there was a large group of people able to help. The Al-Mutlaq complex, on the other hand, is small.

“Then with my friends we started this group, we realized that we were overwhelmed during kitten season. It was not uncommon to find a cat lying on the green at the age of one day , it had to be collected and cleaned or it would die.

“The mothers left them because they couldn’t take care of them. So we got together and we thought we were going to start a band. The first thing I did when we set it up was contact the Advanced Pet Clinic which has just opened here in Alkhobar.

She contacted the owner of APC, who agreed to offer them a 50% discount on all purchases. Resources were used for sick and injured cats. However, Brown admitted fundraising has been difficult and residents of the precinct have been asked to “sponsor a cat” with money. Other fundraising efforts have included holding events, such as craft and bakery sales, with children and spouses to help.

“How we fundraise is kind of an ongoing battle, but we always get there somehow. What’s also most important is that over the years we have really stabilized the population here. The place was swarming at night with feral cats,” Brown said.

Rekha Nair, who joined the TNR group two years ago, said a WhatsApp group had been set up to share information and concerns. “I walk around the enclosure taking pictures of cats, then we name them. So every time we take a picture of a cat that we know has a tip, that cat is already groomed, so we don’t have to worry about it or take it to the vet. We share the photo in the WhatsApp group, that way we know where they hang out so we can set the trap there,” Nair told Arab News.

Laura Masoni is responsible for the “dirty work” of trapping with her 10-year-old daughter. They lure the cat in with a small plate of food around 10 p.m. and check the trap in the morning at 6:30 a.m. Anyone who is trapped is announced on the social media group and then taken to the APC. They must wrap the animals with towels so that they do not scratch their arms.

“We have three traps, one cat at a time. It’s like big cages, we put food in them. I do this almost every night because I used to work around the enclosure feeding the cats and if there are any new cats that need fixing we share the pic with their location and say ” yes, then it must be done”. ‘

“And that’s how, so far, we’ve been able to fix more than 50 cats since 2016. This year, we’ve done about 20. When Juju (Jawahir Islam) was here, she used to pose two or three cat traps every night on the compound. So we were able to catch three cats at once. And she (had) her driver… took them to APC, which was helpful,” Masoni told Arab News.

“People can donate directly to APC, if they wish, or they can donate to one of our homes. We count everything. Keep track of all the money, that’s how it works,” Brown said.