Dubai residents will be familiar with the city’s indigenous population of stray cats. Take a walk around the Lakes or the Greens in the evening sun and you’ll see them, stretched out on the grass like a pride of lions.
Now, residents of nearby properties in The Lakes, Emirates Hills, The Springs and other luxury communities have been warned that if they feed the strays, they could face a 500AED fine.
Care for the cats among local residents is a common practice, with people leaving dry food and clean water for them.
However, Dubai Municipality guidelines state that “feeding of birds such as crows and pigeons and stray animals such as cats and dogs” is prohibited and would be punished with a fine or further action.
The notice, sent by the developer Emaar reminding residents of the regulations, sites the animals as a breeding ground for pests and diseases, with food not eaten by the cats attracting other animals and creating an unhygienic environment.
There are over 100,000 stray cats in Abu Dhabi with thousands more in Dubai and while the cities run a catch, neuter and release program, numbers continue to grow.
Pet abandonment became a criminal offence in 2018 after a law change by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.