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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Our Latest 'Edition'

Khali, the Khalidiya kitten who
once made her home in front of Shining Tower

This is Khali, named after the Abu Dhabi neighborhood we live in and where this little ginger tabby-mau mix was dumped sometime this spring.At least I think she was dumped. As a cat person, I tend to invent wild back stories for the young and not-so-young homeless kittens I've scooped up.

For Mido, his story was simple. He was left in a cardboard box at a construction site in Manhattan. Tessa was a bit more of a mystery. We have absolutely no idea where our 'Taghkanic Kitten' actually appeared from, but there she was one day, climbing up the painter's ladder looking for food and affection (she got both, and then some). We think she had been someone's house cat, then got dumped. By the time she reached us she had worms, ticks, fleas and was nearly starving. Another few weeks and I'm certain with the cold setting in (it was October), she wouldn't have made it.

Then there was Parker, our Abu Dhabi car park kitten, who I decided had hitched a ride in the under carriage of someone's car and was living underground in sweltering heat. After we rescued her she was eventually whisked away to a fabulous life in Dubai. Then there was Street Cat, who didn't live long enough for us to name her (she had been run over by a car in our neighborhood and had severe internal damages). :(

Then there is Khali. John and I spotted her on our regular evening walks to 'our local' and John's walk to work. She was adorable, clean and friendlier than most street cats. We attempted to take her in once, but she freaked out at the sight of the carrier. Since she made her home on one of the busiest street corners in Abu Dhabi (with just a small patch of grass), we were afraid of her running into traffic to get away from us.

So we let her be, and stopped by to feed her regularly.

And so did a lot of other people.

Which is kind of the amazing thing about Abu Dhabi. People take care of the street cats. Not necessarily picking them all up and taking them home, but leaving food near their buildings, bringing food on walks to feed them, and just generally being kind to all creatures. Unfortunately, there are also horror stories about animal abuse, usually by children here who have never been exposed to cats, or pets, but that's another post for another time.

But with Khali, what we saw was that she seemed to be really well fed.

Because she kept getting bigger.

And bigger. And bigger.

(What we didn't realize, is that she was pregnant.)

Then she disappeared. I'd look for her on her street corner in the cool of the evening and wonder where she went. After three days of this, something told me to go out and look for her...

So I went out to the area where she was usually spotted and there, along the shady side of a building, someone had placed down a cardboard box for her to give birth to her kittens. There were remnants of food and a small dirty bowl of water. There were also three dead kittens, and two barely hanging on. And Khali had one freaked out teenage mom look on her face. She is, afterall, still a kitten herself (probably about seven months old).

I immediately called John and asked him what I should do. His motto is that we do the right thing by these animals, so we scooped her up and her two little survivors and went to the vet. Once she checked out okay, we took her home. Unfortunately, the two newborns didn't make it.

But Khali is doing well.

We are trying to help get her acquainted with our posse, which is proving a challenge. My back story for Khali is that she had a home once, but someone got tired of her or saw she was pregnant and tossed her out. I suspect her earlier home was not a happy place, just yesterday she recoiled when I emptied the dishwasher and was brandishing a metal spoon in my hand.

So she's affectionate, but wary. According to the cat websites, she is probably a 'stray' (meaning once having home) vs feral. And with our cats, she's making great strides in getting more comfortable, but she's got a way to go before we can feel she is not going to get all aggressive with our main kitties now and again as she tries to figure out her place here.

Once we can settle her down a bit (teach her to be more comfortable with us, and with our other cats), we'll look to re-home her. She's got wonderful potential and as all the websites tell us, this stuff just takes time. Hopefully getting her spayed next week will also help.

So send good vibes our way for this little one as we continue to try to do the right thing by her.

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