What You Can Do to Help Stray Cats and Kittens in Qatar

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AngelPolacco

Written by: Umanga Perera

Title Image: Angel Polacco

Qatar has a huge population of stray cats, so more often than not we come across them in our day-to-day life, be it a healthy tom or a litter of abandoned kittens. So what can we do to help?

We’ll cover five important areas when it comes to strays and how to properly take care of them:

-Food and Water
-Shelter
-Medication
-Kittens
-Important Contact Numbers


Food and Water

Qatar Animal Welfare Society (QAWS) recommends that you feed strays once a day or every other day so that they do not depend on you for food and lose their hunting instinct. Dry food is recommend as it doesn't spoil as fast as wet food does. Always ensure that fresh clean water is available to them at all times. All food and water provided should be kept in clean containers to prevent bacteria growth.


Shelter

It's no secret that Qatar’s weather is unbearably hot, so what can we do to make our feline friends feel more comfortable? Providing some shade from the harsh sun by planting some bushes or small trees is a double whammy as it helps the environment and gives a place for the kitties to rest. It's also a good idea to keep the soil moist so they have a cool place to lay down.

If the closest thing you have to a garden is a dying cactus in your living room worry not, you can put out a cardboard box on its side and fill it with some newspaper shreddings to make it a bed for the furry nomad.


Medication

We have all come across a sick little cat at some point in our lives and felt helpless because we didn't know what to do. First things first make sure that the cat is out of harm's way: not in the middle of a busy street, about to get into a fight, etc. The second step is to provide fresh water. Thirdly, you must call a veterinary center and describe the cat’s condition and provide the symptoms. The doctor will give you instructions for first aid and whether it is safe to provide food or to have direct contact with the animal. I have listed the numbers of some vet clinics below.


Kittens

What comes to mind when you stumble upon a litter of little kittens? The first thing that I want to do is kidnap them and take them home and make them my children (I have a bit of a problem).

But the first thought that should come to mind is “where is the mother”, sometimes the mother cat is out hunting for food or using the ‘facilities’ so it would be best to watch the kittens for some time from a distance and see if the mother returns. If she doesn't, here's what you can do:

Kittens are sensitive to two important things, heat and glucose levels. Kittens have to be kept warm. If you find them abandoned keep them warm by putting them against your bare skin- your body temperature is very warm and it will keep them at a comfortable temperature. Once you get home you can make a DIY (do it yourself) waterbed:

Materials Required:

Hot water
An old clean t-shirt
A resealable plastic bag (Ziploc)

Directions:

-Fill the bag halfway with hot water and seal it making sure that there are no leaks.
-Wrap the water bag with the shirt leaving some material at the end to act as a blanket.
-Put your kitten(s) on the bed and keep them wrapped up in the t-shirt leaving enough room to breathe.

Pro-tip: Use a resealable freezer bag if you have come across a litter of kittens as they are significantly larger and can accommodate more.

Once they are in a comfortable place make some kitten milk substitute so that they won't go hungry, here are some recipes using ingredients around house:

Recipe 1

90ml condensed milk (not sweetened condensed milk)     
90ml water
120ml plain yogurt (not low fat)
3 large egg yolks/ 4 small egg yolks

Mix well and warm to 97-100F before feeding

Recipe 2

12oz of boiling water
1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
1 12oz can of evaporated milk
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of plain yogurt
1 tablespoon of light corn syrup
1 egg yolk

Mix well and warm to 97-100F before feeding

If you haven't gone grocery shopping yet, you can dilute some milk (cow) and add a few drops of honey as a makeshift formula.

Recipes from https://www.nocans.com/kittens.html

Feeding should be done using a medicine dropper or syringe, giving a few drops at a time so they don't choke.

Here are some warnings and don'ts about kitten care:
-Never give the kitten a bath it drastically lowers their body temperature which is fatal.
-Don't give them straight up cow's milk, most cats are lactose intolerant.
-Don't leave them unattended for long periods of time they are still babies after all.

Important Contacts

Here are some important numbers and contact information in case of emergency or questions concerning strays.

Qatar Veterinary Center- 44216405
Qatar Veterinary Surgery- 44367187
Animal Resources Department- 44560435 

Have you ever found a stray cat in Doha before? How did you handle the situation? Share your story in the comments below!