We thought we had sworn off cat fostering...
But then, there we were, taking an innocent stroll through the streets of Khalidiyah, when we came across a purebred Birman, looking so out of place – no street posse (cats find little packs to hang with here) and little street smarts (oblivious to car traffic) – that by the time we got home John and I pretty much convinced ourselves that if we were able to scoop up ‘Fluffy,’ we’d have him cleaned up and rehomed in no time.
So day after day, John has been walking past the location where we first met up with Fluffy on his way to work. Despite one or two sightings, every time we went around with our rescue cat carrier we’ve come up empty, unable to locate the elusive Fluffy despite the sightings and encouragements of local shop workers and neighborhood folk.
Then on Thursday, as we headed out for the evening, a young sprite of a kitten came bounding at us right outside our own building.
“Oh crap,” I said.
Because this kitten had all the telltale signs of being recently unencumbered by its human. She was clean, super friendly and (worst of all) blissfully ignorant of the dangers nearby -- namely the highly trafficked parking lot right outside our door and the bus stop where a kitten underfoot might not fare too well. With Fluffy our main focus and running late to meet up with friends, we quickly put out some food and water, gave the kitten a little ear rub and went on our way and decided we’d figure it out if we came home and she was still there...
But yesterday, after another failed attempt at finding Fluffy, we came back to the apartment, with empty cat carrier in hand, and there she was – the little kitten sitting in front of our apartment building door, looking as if she was just waiting for us.
“What are we going to do?” I asked John, as if I didn't already know the answer.
After a few cheek rubs, John suggested I go upstairs and bring down some more kitten food. But this 'little babe' (as my cousin would say) already knew the score. Forgoing the cat carriers, she strode right into the building walking right past the security desk. Then with little hesitation, she stepped onto the elevator, barely flinching as the elevator doors closed and we headed up. At that point we had no other option than to invite her in for lunch…
Less than ten minutes later she had cleaned off her plate (as well as Mido and Tessa’s), had a long drink of water, and helped herself to the litter box. Then just like a little Goldilocks, she then settled down for a nap…
|'And this one was just right.'|
Over the past year and a half, we’ve helped get two kitties off the street (and sadly put one kitty out of her misery when she was hit by a car in front of our building – RIP little girl). It’s not much, just check out The Cat Man of Abu Dhabi. Many cat people here do far more, but we do what we can, including feeding the cats on the Corniche -- trying to keep it all manageable and Mido and Tessa content. It’s also never easy for me to give these little loves up (there are many tears on my part), but our resident cats Mido and Tessa are pretty clear about their feelings of another permanent kitty in their brood. Besides, when I hear stories about our rescues in their new homes, it fills my heart. One kitty would have ended up trying to survive in an underground car park. She now lives with a family who is crazy about her in Dubai. The other was trying her best to stand her ground on a small patch of grass on one of Abu Dhabi’s busiest intersections. She is now living on Saadiyat with a cool young cat mom, complete with an outdoor terrace.
For now, we are calling our latest foster friend Patchi, because of the unique dark patches on her pristine white body, and because she was found outside of the Patchi 'boutique chocolate shop,' while we get her health checks in order and find her a home. We’re also still keeping an eye out for Fluffy and have resigned ourselves to the possibility of setting up a small halfway house for kittens if we need (one stray per bedroom).
I guess it's all part of being a crazy cat lady in Abu Dhabi. And it goes without saying, if you'd like to adopt Patchi, just drop us a line (free shipping for the folks at home!). :)