Cats steal the show at the World Cup, but all is not well for Qatar’s felines

Key points
  • Cats were in the spotlight at the Qatar World Cup.
  • There are approximately two to three million stray cats in the country.
  • Life for cats in Qatar can be very hard.
Knowing that they were once revered as gods in ancient Egypt and Babylon and are revered as the quintessential pets of Islam, it would seem that the cats of Qatar have been showing off their feline paws.

French winger Ousmane Dembele is reportedly scared of them, England defender Kyle Walker is doing his best to adopt one, and despite a brutal attempt to send one off, even Brazil’s press conference couldn’t get them. steal the show.

They call it the Cat-ari cut, but life for Qatari wildcats can be incredibly tough.

According to Trap Neuter and Return (TNR), a voluntary organization working to improve the lives of street cats in Qatar, they face a lifetime of food shortages, summer temperatures that regularly exceed 45 degrees, roads crowded and human cruelty.

In 2016, Qatar’s Cat Control Unit estimated Qatar’s cat population to be between two and three million, almost on par with the country’s 2.9 million people.

According to a report by Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar, cats were introduced in the 1960s to deal with a “significant rodent problem”.

Several ragged domestic cats stand in the ground

A colony of feral cats in Qatar. Source: Provided /

With plentiful access to water and food, their numbers quickly exploded “uncontrollably”, increasing the risk of disease for felines and humans alike.

According to the TNR website, trapping feral cats, neutering them, and returning them to their colonies helps protect Qatar’s cats by controlling the cat population. Castrated males tend to be less aggressive, leading to “less injury and less disease transmission”, in females it reduces the risk of tumors and infections associated with childbirth up to three times per year. year.

A cat lying on concrete

The England team adopted “Dave”, a stray cat that roamed their training base, as their team mascot. Source: Getty / The FA/Eddie Keogh

Dave the cat has become an icon for England and its fans, with the team describing him as their “lucky charm”.

England defender Kyle Walker has become so attached to Dave that he hopes to adopt his new best friend, but millions of cats in Qatar won’t be so lucky.

TNR says many cats living in shelters and on the streets will be “euthanized or die of trauma, exposure, starvation or disease”, things they say can be prevented with humane methods of control. population as their “trap, neutralization and liberation approach.