UAE: Seeing dead cats on flooded streets, residents rush to save strays from drowning

As people hastened to salvage their belongings, cars, homes and families and friends, these felines were left unattended


Laraib Anwer

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Published: Wed 17 Apr 2024, 4:42 PM

Last updated: Wed 17 Apr 2024, 11:59 PM

With cars stuck in floods and people stranded in metro stations, the damage afflicted by heavy rains and thunderstorms on humans was never seen before in the UAE.

Another population that was affected were the felines found across the Emirates. As people hastened to salvage their belongings, cars, homes and families and friends, these cats were left unattended.

A video taken by KT journalist Muhammad Sajjad shows a stranded cat calling for help in a flooded area in Dubai.

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Yet, there were a few across the country who made sure to look out for them, too, amid worsening weather conditions and warnings.

A video circulating online shows a Dubai Police rescue team rescue a cat clinging off a door's handle amidst flooded waters. The heartwarming moment has caught the attention of many netizens.

Watch the video below:

Apart from the authority, the community has taken it upon themselves to protect these cats.

Mohamed El Aazaoui, a Moroccan living in Abu Dhabi, has been rescuing cats off the streets for more than a decade. On Tuesday, he saved four kittens along with their mother and other cats in his community from the basement. "Until now, I have seen two dead cats. Once the water dries, we'll know more."

The 53-year-old who works in a construction company has been feeding and rescuing and getting sick and injured cats treated for years. "Despite struggling with funds myself, I try to take care of these cats and find them adoptive families."

Mohamed El Aazaoui
Mohamed El Aazaoui

In Sharjah, Zeba, an animal lover residing in the emirate for 21 years was on alert after she learned of the weather warnings. "We decided to build a shelter, but we couldn't in the park since its public property. So, we secured places by setting up tarps, wood and towels, anything that would save them from being drenched. We did this in 3-4 locations."

The 23-year-old Indian expat who lives in Majaz 1 has been feeding and rescuing cats since the past five years. "The aftermath of these rains is going to be devastating, but as a community we will be helping each other more than ever."

Similar stories have been coming from Dubai. Chiku Singh, a resident of Dubai Hills managed to take two strays into her home. "They were looking lost and very skinny. I kept them in my spare room, isolated from my own pets and gave them food, water and a cosy blanket. As they were already spayed, I released them back this very late morning."

At such a time, its the rescuers she is grateful for who have been caring for these animals. "Sadly, there are reports coming through of some rescuers’ homes being flooded. They are evacuating the cats to a safer place. Unfortunately, there are casualties being reported of some cats and kittens who were also unable to make it and had drowned in the water."

Chiku's rescue efforts last night
Chiku's rescue efforts last night

Dubai resident Alyssa, who lives in Damac Hills 2, took stray cats in from her community last evening, as the storm worsened. "There were cats out that we had TNR'd (trap-neuter-released). If more cats had been neutered then we wouldn't have had so many cases of mother cats and kittens drowning and going missing."

Alyssa took some cats into her living room last night. "I have released three of them back out as sunlight shone in our community. If things get bad by night, we will get them back in."

For Alyssa, she believes that such efforts are a community responsibility and not just for a handful of individuals. "They don’t get shelter in most parts of the country because either buildings don’t want cats inside or people say 'I already have one cat/dog.' But if more people could help, even temporarily, then we wouldn’t have reports of missing cats and dead kittens."

In her community, there have been reports of missing cats, which even include few house cats. "If people could have taken them in temporarily, then owners wouldn’t be as petrified as they are now. I don’t expect everyone to be an animal lover, but compassion really isn’t a choice, especially under these circumstances," she said.

Jarka, a resident of Motor City was surprised when she heard a cat meowing in her garage after flooding. A cat was trapped and luckily they were able to get to it before things escalated. "She was terrified. She wouldn't eat any of the food or drink water because of thunderstorm sounds. They can hear it much louder and sharper than us."

Aileen Alnuaimi, an Emirati residing in Ajman, runs a cat shelter and woke up to the clean the place on Tuesday. After she finished and left, she returned an hour later to a horrific sight. "The area was flooded. I have bunnies living there too and they had climbed on a chair."

"There was water in the kitchen and storage, which has been turned into the cat grooming room. I placed them in another room, where water starting coming from the windows. I had to finally get them into the house."


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