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How To Adopt A Cat From Streets In Dubai

How To Adopt A Cat From Streets In Dubai




If you’ve been living in Dubai for a while, you are sure to have spotted a few cats prowling around your neighbourhood. Street cats are common, and although there are a growing number of charities dedicated to their welfare, there are still large numbers of cats in need of a home.

If you are thinking of getting a new furry companion, you may be considering adopting a street cat. So, what does this involve – and what can you expect from the process?

Getting Ready for Your New Cat

Whether you are adopting a cat for the first time or have several at home already, there are always a few changes you need to make before adding a new furry family member.

If you do not currently own a cat, then you will need to prepare your home for their arrival. Your basic checklist includes

  • Food
  • Water
  • Litter trays
  • Hiding spaces & sleeping spots
  • Scratching spots
  • Toys to simulate hunting

Whether you are adopting a cat for the first time or have several at home already, there are always a few changes you need to make before adding a new furry family member.

If you already own one or more other cats, then initially you will need to keep your new cat separate from them so that you can introduce them slowly. This usually means setting up a room or part of the house with everything that your new cat needs, but initially keeping the door shut so they cannot mix. Over time, you can then slowly introduce the cats to one another.

Adopting Via a Charity

If you are looking to rescue a cat from the streets of Dubai, the best way to do this is via a local charity. Not all street cats will cope with living in a home, and many will have health conditions that need treatment, too. Before adopting a cat, be sure to talk to the charity about their background, and any known health issues.

Charities will often run adoption days where you can meet prospective cats before you adopt them. They may also offer for you to foster, meaning that you take a cat into your home temporarily until a good home can be found. This can be a good way to try caring for a cat without the long-term commitment and may suit those who are planning to leave the UAE in the next few years.

Adopting a Cat I Found

If you have found a stray cat, you may wish to adopt them directly, rather than going via a charity. However, you should be aware that many street cats are used to a certain way of life and may not adjust well to the relative confinement of living inside a home. Kittens and young cats may find it easier to adjust, especially if they are already used to humans, but there is no guarantee that this will be the case. It may be kinder to arrange for them to be checked over by a vet and neutered instead.

If you find a litter of newborn kittens, think very carefully before disturbing them. It is likely that the mother cat is nearby but will almost certainly not return to them whilst you are there. Rearing newborn kittens is very intensive - they need feeding every few hours, even overnight, as well as other specialised care. If you think that a litter may be in distress, speak to a local charity to see if they can help


Rearing newborn kittens is very intensive - they need feeding every few hours, even overnight, as well as other specialised care.

Adoption Medical Checklist

Whether you adopt a cat directly or via a charity, you should make sure that they have had all the necessary medical care during the adoption process.

Vet Check

All stray cats should have a thorough health check from a veterinarian to identify any health problems that may need treatment. Some charities will arrange this before rehoming, but it is best to have an initial check-up with your own veterinarian soon after adoption, too.


Female cats should be spayed, and male cats castrated, before being rehomed. This will prevent any accidental kittens, and also reduce the urge to roam and look for a mate, which can make it hard for cats to adjust to life indoors.

Some street cats may already have been neutered as part of a Trap, Neuter, Release scheme. In this case, they will often be missing the tip of their left ear. This is done by the veterinarian at the time of neutering to signal to other cat carers that they are already neutered.


All cats should be given core vaccinations – this is a legal requirement, but also protects their health. These include:

  • Rabies virus
  • Herpesvirus & Calicivirus (“Cat Flu”)
  • Panleukopenia virus (“Enteritis”)

Herpesvirus, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia virus are given as a combined injection.

Your vet may also recommend other vaccinations, such as against Feline Leukaemia Virus, but this will depend on your cat’s risk of catching these diseases.

Parasite Treatments

May street cats will carry fleas, worms, and other parasites. These can significantly affect the cat’s health, and humans can also be bitten by fleas, too. All street cats should be treated with a vet-recommended product to ensure they are free of parasites

Viral Testing

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) are infections that can be found in street cats in the UAE. They are harmless to humans but can cause serious illness in cats. FeLV is usually fatal within a few years; a healthy cat may live with FIV for many years, but it will eventually cause significant problems, too. Blood tests are available to check for both these illnesses, and it is recommended to check stray cats before they are adopted. This is especially important if you already have other cats at home.

Legal Requirements

All pet cats in Dubai must be registered with the Dubai Municipality. This usually costs around AED100 at a veterinarian, though it may be less at a Dubai Municipality Veterinary Centre.

To get your cat registered, you will need:

  • Your personal ID (either an Emirates ID or a passport and visa)
  • Your contact details (address, phone number, email, and so on)
  • Your cat’s personal details (age, sex, neuter status, breed, colour, and so on)
  • Your cat’s vaccination record (they must be up to date with their vaccinations)
  • Your cat’s microchip number

All pet cats in Dubai must be registered with the Dubai Municipality. This usually costs around AED100 at a veterinarian, though it may be less at a Dubai Municipality Veterinary Centre.

Your cat’s information will be uploaded onto the Municipality database, along with your personal information. You will be issued an official ID tag, which your cat should wear on their collar at all times

The Dubai Municipality Mobile App has a section for pets, which may be a convenient way to help you manage the adoption and registration process. It replaces the old Aleef app

Overseas Adoptions

If you are visiting Dubai or are working here short-term, then you may want to take your adopted cats home with you. This is often possible, but it will depend on the country that you are moving to. Some companies specialise in transporting pets overseas, and it is best to speak to them to find out whether it is possible for you, and to discuss the costs involved.


Adopting a street cat in Dubai can be complex, and it is best to go via an organisation that has experience with this. As well as check-ups and treatment for the cat’s well-being, there are also legal steps that are required in order to bring a new cat into your home. However, many street cats will make wonderful pets, and adoption can be very rewarding for both you and your new cat.

Dr Ruth Cawston MA VetMB CertAVP(SAM) MRCVS, British.

Author: Dr Ruth Cawston (MA VetMB CertAVP(SAM) MRCVS,British)

Ruth graduated from Cambridge in 2014 and has worked as a small animal GP vet ever since. She is particularly interested in internal medicine, as it combines her love of problem-solving and her somewhat geeky love of knowledge, and has completed her certificate in Small Animal Medicine. She loves animals of all species, but is particularly fond of cats.