Damaris came all the way from Dubai to Fat Kitty City for his chance at a new life. And we are so happy to report that he has found his forever home!
We want to share with you an awesome email we received from Christine Veall, who rescued Damaris aka “Skinny” in Dubai, and got him all the way to Fat Kitty City! The email is addressed to Damaris’ adopter here in the States:
I received your contact details from Cindy and Cynthia at Fat Kitty City and hope you don’t mind me contacting you direct.
I’m the person who rescued Damaris in Dubai and I wanted to personally thank you for opening your heart and home to him. He is a very special kitty and has a large fan club here. We are all thrilled he has landed on all fours! We thought that you might be interested in the background to Damaris and some of the earlier photos of him.
By way of background, I’m originally from Ontario, Canada and have been living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for the past 22 years.
Approximately 90% of the population of Dubai is comprised of expatriates from countries such as the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Australia, Russia etc. Many of them acquire pets while here but then abandon such pets on the streets when they are no longer convenient, during extended summer holidays or they can’t afford the cost of relocating such pets back to their home country when they eventually return to such country.
There are no shelters or sanctuaries in the UAE and consequently, the streets are perceived as the only option for those looking to quickly get rid of unwanted pets. Furthermore, for cultural, religious and/or financial reasons or due to lack of education, many people refuse to have animals in their care neutered or spayed. The combination of these factors is resulting in an ever increasing population of street cats and dogs.
Recent studies estimate that in Dubai alone (excluding the other 6 Emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates), the street cat population is around 250,000 and rapidly growing. This number is comprised of abandoned pets, socialized cats born on the streets and feral cats. There are no government-supported Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs, so animal-loving individuals take it upon themselves to implement TNR programs, treat sick or injured animals and home as many as possible. The efforts of some rescuers are truly extraordinary! However, even with colossal individual efforts, in the absence of government sanction, the Dubai municipality and pest control companies frequently cull the street dog and cat population on a city-wide basis and, as such, even TNRed colonies are under constant threat of annihilation.
My husband and I, together with a number of other individuals, have been involved in rescuing street cats in Dubai for a number of years. We have implemented a TNR program in our community on Palm Jumeirah (a man-made island in the shape of a Palm tree) which includes spaying/neutering, vaccinating, deworming, microchipping and treating our community street cats for injuries, disease or illness. Wherever possible we try to find home for our community cats in Dubai however, due to the ever increasing cat population and a very transient human population, there is now a critical shortage of homes for street cats, so we are looking to find homes aboard.
As regards Damaris (he was named “Skinny” because he was so thin), he first appeared in our colony (presently about 25 cats) on Palm Jumeirah in July 2016. He had never been seen before and we had no idea where he came from but suspect that he was a dumped pet. He was very dirty, thin, unneutered and had a terrible cold. He was initially very shy and wouldn’t let anyone touch him. So, we decided to feed him some tasty food as regularly as possible in the hope that he would stay in the colony long enough for us to pick him up. Unfortunately, he moved in and out of the colony for a period of months between July 2016 and January 2017 – never staying long enough for us to pick him up. Each time he returned, he looked heavier but always had a cold. When he returned in January, he had gained weight but had such a horrendous cold, he could barely breathe and was happy to be picked up and taken to the vet. Because of his persistent cold, we suspected he might be FIV+ and had him tested; sadly he was positive. As a general policy, in the interests of maintaining a healthy colony, if a community cat tests positive for FIV or FeLV, we don’t return that cat to the colony – the options are to find a home or euthanize. We knew Damaris was special and I simply couldn’t give the instruction to euthanize. Homing an FIV+ in the UAE is impossible, so I started looking for options aboard. I researched Fat Kitty City and reached out to them in the hope that they could help Damaris – thankfully, they agreed to take him. We are extremely grateful for their support and assistance.
Damaris boarded at our local vet clinic for a couple of months until I was able to find him a foster home and sort out his travel arrangements. Thankfully, a friend who travels to Los Angeles frequently agreed to take Damaris with him. Damaris flew from Dubai to Los Angeles (16 hour flight), over-nighted in Los Angeles and then traveled 5+ hours overland to reach Fat Kitty City.
Attached are some pictures of the various stages of his journey from us to Fat Kitty City. We hope you enjoy looking at them.
Damaris is well loved and everyone constantly asks for updates, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with updates.
Apologies for the long email.
Thank you once again. It seems like Damaris has settled into your home very well and we couldn’t be happier.
Here are photos of Damaris’ journey to the United States and Fat Kitty City and his new adoptive family and home: