Adopt don't shop: the cats and dogs that need homes in the UAE

We list the animal rescue organisations to adopt from in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates

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Looking for a new furry friend to add to the family? Before looking for a pet shop or breeder, consider adopting one of the many animals looking for their forever homes in the UAE.

If you're not sure where to start, many rescue operations host adoption days where you can meet prospective pets.

Scroll through the gallery above for animals recently available for adoption

“Apart from aiming to find a happy home for these cats and kittens, we hope the adoption days will help create awareness among those who don’t know how many pets desperately need a home,” says Carol Geldenhuys, founder of Kittysnip.

Why you should adopt and not shop

In 2018, a pet shop in Sharjah was fined Dh3,000 after complaints over the conditions in which the animals were kept in. A couple filmed a long-haired cat laying on its side, heat-stricken and heavily panting, prompting many on social media to lodge a complaint with the Sharjah Municipality.

Another shop in Dubai had its animal licence suspended and eventually closed because it sold sick puppies that were ill with parvovirus because they were never vaccinated. Some of the dogs died, while other pet owners had to pay thousands of dirhams in vet bills for treatment.

Apart from aiming to find a happy home for these cats and kittens, we hope the adoption days will help create awareness among those who don't know how many pets desperately need a home

Meanwhile, at adoption days, all pets that are old enough will be microchipped, vaccinated, dewormed and spayed/neutered ensuring that they are healthy. Younger kittens and puppies will also undergo the same process, with the money being used from the adoption fees.

"Adopt don't shop," says Daniela Rauso. "You cannot buy unconditional love."

Healthy cats and dogs have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years, which is why people need to be sure they are ready for such a long-term commitment. “We not only want to inform people about the multiple benefits of adoption but also the commitment involved when taking on an abandoned or neglected cat or kitten,” Geldenhuys says.

Your guide to adopting a cat or dog in the UAE

Here’s a list of organisations that host adoption days. However, due to the coronavirus, it is better to get directly in touch with an organisation.

Kittysnip Adoption Days

What: Kittens and cats

Where: Dubai Garden Centre, Dubai

When: Fridays, 11am to 5pm


Animal Specialist Clinic 

What: Kittens and cats

Where: Animal Specialist Clinic, Dubai

When: Inquire on their Facebook page


K9 Friends Dubai

What: Puppies and dogs

Where: Shelter in Jebel Ali, Dubai

When: Call for an appointment, 04 887 8739 (open Saturday to Thursday, 9am to 1pm)


Pet Adoptions - JVC

What: Kittens and cats

Where: Furry Friends in Jumeirah Village Circle

When: Fridays, 1pm to 7pm. Inquire on their Facebook page


Adopt-a-Cat UAE

What: Kittens and cats

Where: FitLifeVet, Abu Dhabi

When: Second Friday of the month

Rescue of Abu Dhabi

What: Kittens and cats

Where: Pet Oasis Abu Dhabi

When: January 4, 2pm to 5pm


Amanda's Animal Rescue UAE

What: Puppies and dogs

Where: Paws and Whiskers, Al Quoz 4, Dubai

When: Inquire on Facebook page


Red Paw Foundation

What: Kittens, cats and dogs

Where: Thejamjar, Al Serkal Avenue and House of Paws, Al Quoz Industrial Area

When: Check dates and timings on Facebook and Instagram


Stray Dogs Center UAQ

What: Puppies and dogs

Where: Inquire on their Facebook page


38 Smiles

What: Dogs and cats

Where: Inquire on their Facebook page



What: Puppies, dogs, cats and kittens

Where: K9 Central Kennels, Dubai Investment Park

When: Inquire on their Facebook page

Why street animals need TNR 

Getting a pet spayed or neutered is also of utmost importance. The UAE has an abundance of animals and, unfortunately, there are not enough homes for all of them.

"Sadly, for every cat we rescue at least another 100 suffer or die on the streets," says Geldenhuys.

Read more: The long read: the UAE's street cat epidemic

For a lot of welfare groups, TNR (trap, neuter and return) is top priority because it stops street animals from multiplying further.

“It’s no secret that there are more cats in Dubai than we know what to do with. An average female cat will have between two and three litters a year, of four to six kittens per litter,” she adds.

“In a bid to reduce the street cat population, we are continuously working to trap stray cats, have them neutered/spayed, treated for wounds and either adopted or released."