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Kitten Patrol: Catwomen.

Lack of awareness, funds and space is leading to the killing of a large number of kittens in Dubai, volunteers and veterinary doctors have told XPRESS.

Letting the cat out of the bag, lovers and minders of cats and kittens in Dubai guardedly said that "they are not keeping count", but the number could be "frightening and horrifying".

Giselle Orsmond of Feline Friends, a non-profit organisation, explained, "We are not there to kill. We are there to help. We tell people who come to us with kittens to take them to the vet and have them humanely put to sleep rather than let them die of starvation, but only when we cannot help them because of lack of space. And only as a last resort. But how many do that, I don't know."

Feline Friends gets an average of 20 kittens a day which are either unwanted or deserted. However, due to space constraints they can only accommodate 80 at a time.

The rest are given either to volunteers (about 44 of them in Dubai), known as fosterers, or sent to the vets to be put to sleep.

Gisele assures that "it is done very calmly and humanely," adding "I don't think they [vet clinics] keep a record of that because it's just not a nice thing to record. We at Feline Friends do not keep these figures.

"It is our policy not to put them down unless in desperate situations like untreatable injuries and we do not keep record of that."

She responded in the affirmative when asked if the number of kittens put down was substantial, adding that most common reasons for euthanising them were injuries, poisoning, starvation and feline Aids, known as Feline Infectious Virus, which, like human Aids, is not contractible by touch.

The situation gets worse during summer when many pet owners go on vacation resulting in homeless cats and kittens, many of which need to be put down due to lack of home and food.

An employee at a vet clinic said the number of kittens put down this year would be "frightening".

"Mercy killing is a better option than being left to starve or left with a crippling injury, " he said.


Feline Friends is organising Adopt-a-Cat Day this Saturday, May 17, at The Veterinary Hospital in Al Quoz from 3pm to 6pm

Contact number for the Clinic is 04-338 7726 or call Feline Friends Enquiry Line on 050-451 0058

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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 14, 2008
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