May 28, 2020, 10:16 a.m. Gavin Qatar
Here in Qatar stray cats adorn nearly every nook and cranny, from neighborhoods to parks to busy city streets. Maybe 10 months ago a dirty cat started hanging near my flat's parking space. The space was in a large underground garage so we named this dirty creature Garage Boy.
Flash forward to October 2019 - myself, Anastasia, and some neighbors have been feeding Garage Boy. He knew my schedule and would wait for me to come and go.
At this point Garage Boy was a constant in life but suddenly he disappeared. Then as if nothing happened Garage Boy returned with a girlfriend. She's a sweet little koshka but we named her Dumb Dumb for good reason. I guess our dear King of the Garage felt stable and decided to start a family.
Fearing the inevitable we tried to catch our dear Garage Boy for some humane neutering, but he didn't live on the streets for years without being able to avoid harassment from people. So the inevitable transpired and his girlfriend got super pregnant.
We really weren't sure she was pregnant until she showed up half her former size; this was sometime around early March 2020. Just like her boyfriend husband thing Dumb Dumb spent much of her time in the garage. So logically she would give birth in the garage which is why we looked everywhere for them, until our neighbor found some kittens in his long unused SUV.
At this point Dumb Dumb is now Mama Cat. According to our neighbor Mama Cat carried out 5 kittens. We couldn't find these babies anywhere.
Then one day weeks later, this was waiting for me at my vehicle.
Knowing what had happened with the neighbor's vehicle. We cracked open the hood of my little Suzuki Swift to find a treasure trove of kittens.
We managed to wrangle the kittens but there were only four. Either the neighbor was mistaken, or one kitten was lost or dead. In any case we were lucky to capture all 4 and relocated them to the greenery area of the apartment pool. After a difficult time getting Mama Cat to realize what was happening it was a success Mama Cat and the kittens were enjoying the poolside. We're pretty sure those kittens spent the first 2 months of their lives inside a garage.
Anyways as time went on the kittens warmed up to us, stayed away from the garage, and got used to eating cat food like their mother. We're feeding them everyday until it's time to leave Qatar - early July inshallah.
And of course we named them. From bottom to top -
- Grinch - this guy can be mean
- Gordito - the fattest of the bunch
- Grinch2 - not mean but basically Grinch's twin
- Bush Boy - this gato took a while to not be scared, in the beginning he would always hide in the bushes
Unfortunately Qatar and the GCC in general is not a friendly place for animals, especially strays. Cats in particular are often seasonal pets for spoiled children or transitory expats that get thrown away like ordinary household garbage. This of course adds to the endless supply of stray cats when combined with a lack of effort towards neutering strays. But here the somewhat bright side is that many expats and Qataris take on the responsibility of helping these poor creatures.
Despite the fact the situation with stray animals is not the best there are always ways each individual can help without doing the ultimate act of adoption. If you're in the GCC or anywhere else feed a stray, or maybe try taking a neighborhood animal for some neutering - it could be free depending on where you live.