In a new campaign, Qatar animal volunteer groups have begun picking up, neutering and then releasing street cats as part of a worldwide initiative to reduce the number of stray animals.
Some 70 cats here are expected to be neutered over the next month to mark National TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) Day.
Four local veterinary centers — Royal Veterinary Center, Vet Life Clinic, Qatar Veterinary Center and Dr. Faris Al-Timimi Vet Clinic — have volunteered to help support the livelihood of Doha’s street cats during the month-long event, each agreeing to TNR five cats from their own pockets.
The remaining 50 cats will be taken care of by volunteer group Qatar Feral and Stray Cat Group (QFSCG), who are the main organizers for the event.
Through QFSCG, a local organization that aims to support, manage and reduce the local stray cat population, this is the first time Qatar has observed TNR day.
Ann Young, a volunteer at QFSCG, said the need for communal action is higher than ever. She told Doha News:
“We have jumped onboard with the event this year because although government vets and volunteers have been trying to address the problem of the stray animal overpopulation for years, we have realized as a welfare group that the situation needs to be addressed and acted upon a lot more. It is becoming out of control, but there’s very little funding for TNR here.
This initiative is terribly important, and through this event hopefully we can raise awareness as well as improve the lives of the animals.”
A communal issue
Branding the situation as “a community issue as well as a welfare one,” Young explained that a society’s stray population grows when people don’t spay or neuter their pets, adding to the “terrific burden.”
Local animal owners also contribute to the problem by abandoning their pets for various reasons, mainly when they leave Qatar.
Volunteer groups have previously expressed their daily struggles to Doha News, explaining that a rise in the number of stray animals is leaving them with little space and money.
Still, local groups said that on National TNR Day next year, they plan to extend their services to dogs in Doha as well.
“Our ultimate aim is to somehow finance a mobile unit so that we can go around the various areas of Qatar and reach difficult to get to areas. Through our mobile van we could TNR both dogs and cats much more easily. Dogs are a lot harder to transport than cats mainly due to their size, so a van would be ideal.”
As always, the welfare groups are relying solely on donations. In order to successfully spay and neuter 50 cats, QFSCG has created an online portal as a way to receive public donations.
Additionally, all four participating veterinary centers said that from now until Oct. 23, residents who want to spay their dogs or cats can do so at a 10 percent discount.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to just kill them. They are not native to Arabia and are not an endangered species and help spread various diseases.
Are you talking about cats or expat workers?
Am I seriously reading this?
Yes, and I tend to agree……if people are unable to look after their pets properly, both when in Qatar and/or make adequate provisions when they are away, then I believe those animals should be put to sleep. In a monumental bit of cod psychology, I’m going to suggest that (non-Qatari) people take pets here as a kind a respite from the culture shock around them, a kind of domestic strokey certainty to return to each day, but often its done with little thought for the local climate or environment or future plans. Cats are obviously more adaptable than dogs, but still, I have seen well-intentioned people take on far more than they can handle feline-wise, and then when it comes to leaving, they’re pleading for like-minded people to help them out, and their pleas fall on deaf ears…… I would rather have a pet put down than send it to QAWS, as well-intentioned as it is, but it simply isn’t suitable in location or environment for large numbers of animals. A vote up from me for the Big Sleep.
I really can,t believe you’ve written this!
Do you spray your house to kill insects? Or do you just neuter your cockroahces? Would you have rats killed if they invaded your house or would you invite them in for lunch?
Actually I don’t kill insects and one cannot compare cats and insects. When we had mice we caught them with humane traps and released them. Your comment of getting romantically involved with a cat is offensive- even if you are trying to be tongue cheek.
I find it offensive you consider the life of one creature above another, presumably because one is cute and cuddly and the other is not so I guess we are both offender. Won’t get us anywhere though?
I usually agree with much you say but this one I got to give a big HUH? Lost a little respect in the process.
Was it his use of the word ‘kill’ that made you so over-sensitive? I don’t know how anyone can argue against more euthanasia here if the amount of animals around outnumbers the number of people willing to take care of them, especially in this climate……..
Should I have used the words put down or it to sleep instead?
Dude you are totally off base. You obviously have never owned a pet cat or dog. If you had I’m not sure you could say that. Myself and a couple others in the compound feed and take care of some of the so called strays. Many are not feral but unfortunately just dumped when someone either got tired of them or left the country. Not being feral they have a hard time fending for themselves. I’ve had them spayed or neutered myself and right now taking care of 3 baby kittens that another had. And will have her fixed once I can. Should I just bash the little ones skulls with a rock or something?
To compare them to cockroaches or rats… Strange statement.
Why? Do you consider Indian labourers to be less worthy than Qataris as they smell and are dirty?
Just because cats can be cute and insects not I don’t think you should make your judgements on
Isn’t QDC closed today?
At some point, you have to look at these animals as rats. Like soi dogs in Thailand or street dogs in Argentina. They’re not “pets” who have gone on walkabout just because you have a cat and you think it looks similar to the furry filth that sleeps in the shade under your car. They’re street animals surviving on trash. A solution is needed
How the he!! to you think they got here? I’ve got 3 hanging out around the compound that are not some wild beasts that roamed in from the savannah. Feral cats don’t seek out people, these do.
I used to think this way. Then a adopt a stray cat I found in my house, then one I found in a building in Al Sadd, then a young kitten from our garden, and then another kitten from work. Not to mention some more outdoor cats living in the garden. Guess what? They’re all friendly, and most allow me to pick them up.
The humane solution is to trap, neuter, and release. It works.
I am developing a slow boiling rage every time another unneutered male cat wandering into my garden. Some are feral but often they are expets.
My rage is not directed at the cats but at the irresponsible inconsiderate owners who can’t be bothered to have their male, now adult, cat neutered because they don’t want to pay for it or can’t be bothered. So I can imagine when the cat starts spraying in the house, as male cats do, they kick them out or drop them off at the nearest compound, ( I’m convinced they choose mine deliberately). Cute little souq kitty that cost qr2000 now becomes a smelly nuisance so let someone else deal with him and we will go down to the souq and get another cute kitty.
It will be interesting to see if there is any reduction in abandoned cats now that they can no longer be bought at the animal souq.
May I ask what diseases cats spread to people? Have you actually researched this topic? Let me answer it for you then; the only things that cats can transmit to people are fleas, not common in Qatar, rabies, not one known case in Qatar, and ring worm, a mild skin fungus that actually goes away on its own.
From an Islamic point of view, unless an animal presents a real threat to life or lively hood, you cannot kill simply because you don’t like it or it annoys you. Cats in particular so; they are considered to be clean (taher) and you can even use a water that a cat drank from for wudu. The prophet SAW) even described them as being Tawafeen ( roamers, passers, visitors) among you, they are part of the household. This why in the early 2000s when the idea to kill stray cats came up, it was in fact the ministry of Awqaf that stepped in and said that is not allowed.
Last but not least, try researching how killing cats as control method has worked elsewhere; trust me, not much success there as the remaining cats will continue to produce.
Dude we agree on something. LOL
Well, the Earth is round, and we were running in the opposite direction, so we were bound to run into each other 😉
Yes there are not many diseases you can get from cats, probably toxoplasmosis is the worst one and you certainly can catch feline Aids if you get romantically involved….
Toxoplasmosis comes from kittens and puppies who have not been treated for worms. Responsible pet owners will know this and will have their young pets kept up to date with the right treatment.
Toxoplasmosis is pretty horrible but not that common. Basic hygiene and common sense will do more to protect you.
Oh and avoid eating kitten or dog poo.
Feline AIDs does not cross species.
Not many responsible pet owners here and that is the problem. Hence lots of strays
Thanks, Abdulrahman. Well said. Wouldn’t it be great if the government could work together with all the veterinary practices in Qatar to provide an ongoing TNR programme. One day, Insh’allah…..
Thank you. Actually there is a government sponsored TNR for some years now. The government vet by the the airport offers free sterilization, and they also have TNR teams that you can request to come to your house or neighborhood and catch the cats 🙂
Volunteers in Qatar have been doing this for years. But thanks for spotlighting the plight of animal welfare and spreading awareness.
5 cats per month? With the money vets make here they could do so much more to help.
Snip Snip no more dip dip for you little kitty!
My vet costs me an arm and a leg to do the simplest thing and now the lot of them have
“…each agreeing to TNR five cats from their own pockets.”
Seriously doc? Thats the best you can do?
I spend more than that a month feeding a couple stray cats in my neighborhood.
And then, really loud LOL, they’ll give me a 10% discount to have my pet cat done.
Thank you for writing about this! There is a big group of people in Qatar that have been spaying and neutering cats for years to keep their population under control in an ethical and humane way.