In a new campaign, Qatar animal volunteer groups have begun picking up, neutering and then releasing street cats as part of a worldwide initiative to reduce the number of stray animals.
Some 70 cats here are expected to be neutered over the next month to mark National TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) Day.
Four local veterinary centers — Royal Veterinary Center, Vet Life Clinic, Qatar Veterinary Center and Dr. Faris Al-Timimi Vet Clinic — have volunteered to help support the livelihood of Doha’s street cats during the month-long event, each agreeing to TNR five cats from their own pockets.
The remaining 50 cats will be taken care of by volunteer group Qatar Feral and Stray Cat Group (QFSCG), who are the main organizers for the event.
Through QFSCG, a local organization that aims to support, manage and reduce the local stray cat population, this is the first time Qatar has observed TNR day.
Ann Young, a volunteer at QFSCG, said the need for communal action is higher than ever. She told Doha News:
“We have jumped onboard with the event this year because although government vets and volunteers have been trying to address the problem of the stray animal overpopulation for years, we have realized as a welfare group that the situation needs to be addressed and acted upon a lot more. It is becoming out of control, but there’s very little funding for TNR here.
This initiative is terribly important, and through this event hopefully we can raise awareness as well as improve the lives of the animals.”
A communal issue
Branding the situation as “a community issue as well as a welfare one,” Young explained that a society’s stray population grows when people don’t spay or neuter their pets, adding to the “terrific burden.”
Local animal owners also contribute to the problem by abandoning their pets for various reasons, mainly when they leave Qatar.
Volunteer groups have previously expressed their daily struggles to Doha News, explaining that a rise in the number of stray animals is leaving them with little space and money.
Still, local groups said that on National TNR Day next year, they plan to extend their services to dogs in Doha as well.
“Our ultimate aim is to somehow finance a mobile unit so that we can go around the various areas of Qatar and reach difficult to get to areas. Through our mobile van we could TNR both dogs and cats much more easily. Dogs are a lot harder to transport than cats mainly due to their size, so a van would be ideal.”
As always, the welfare groups are relying solely on donations. In order to successfully spay and neuter 50 cats, QFSCG has created an online portal as a way to receive public donations.
Additionally, all four participating veterinary centers said that from now until Oct. 23, residents who want to spay their dogs or cats can do so at a 10 percent discount.