One of the men who caught a pregnant cat that jumped from a balcony in Dubai told The National he is thrilled they were able to save the animal’s life.
The heroic act was caught on a video that went viral. It was shared by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai. He praised the men’s efforts.
On Tuesday, at about 8am, Indian bus driver Naseer Muhammad noticed a cat stuck on a balcony in Al Marar area in Deira.
The 50-year-old, who has been a Dubai resident for 13 years, said he rushed down to the street with a towel and a bed sheet to help the cat jump safely from the second floor.
An Egyptian delivery driver and a Pakistani salesman joined Mr Muhammad to help.
“I live in the building that is right across from the balcony, so when I saw, I immediately went down and held a towel for her to jump on, but she didn’t feel safe,” he said.
“Then, we held the bedsheet for her and she finally jumped. We could tell that she was heavily pregnant and was in pain. It was a scary moment, but we were determined to save her.
“I love cats. I have three cats at home, and one of them always sleeps on my arm. It hurts me to see injured animals and I like helping them.”
The Egyptian driver can be seen holding the sheet with Mr Muhammed, while the Pakistani national held up a cardboard box as another precautionary measure.
Mr Muhammed said they fed the cat after she was rescued and then she rested inside an air-conditioned shop for a while.
“We never thought the video would go viral. We didn’t save her because we thought we’d become famous. I love animals, especially cats. My first instinct after seeing her struggling was to go and help,” he said.
A Ruler's celebration
Mr Muhammad said after Sheikh Mohammed tweeted about them, government officials visited the area the same night and invited all three of them to an event where their efforts would be celebrated.
Atif Mehmood, the 24-year-old Pakistani salesman who was also in the video, said he saw the men trying to save the cat and wanted to help.
“Whether it is an animal or human – if you see someone struggling, you should help. I saw a cardboard box and held it up right next to the bedsheet in case she missed her target,” he said.
“We’re all very happy that the cat is doing OK. She is a very good cat and deserves a loving home.”
Rashid Mohammed, 25, an Indian owner of a nearby grocery store, captured the rescue operation on his camera phone and has also been invited to the celebratory event by government officials.
“That cat used to come to my grocery store almost every day. We feed her and she is loved by a lot of people here. I thought it was incredible that people gathered to save her and I decided to film it,” he said.
Mr Mohammed’s father has been operating the grocery store in the same neighbourhood for 35 years.