Abu Dhabi community wins fight to keep local cats

Honey and Buster, who have lived in Al Bandar, Raha Beach, for five years, will be allowed to stay

Two community cats threatened with eviction from a luxury waterside development have been offered a permanent home among its residents.

Honey and Buster have lived in Al Bandar, Raha Beach and are loved by many who reside there.

The "kind and friendly" pair, who have been neutered and are vaccinated against common cat diseases, have lived in the area for five years.

Back in September, the development’s owners’ association suggested they should be relocated because they had become a nuisance, marking vessels in the nearby marina in Al Bandar, and damaging the boats’ upholstery.

Buster rests on the couch in his new foster home. Photo: Khushnum Bhandari / The National

The board also claimed that leaving out food for the pets could attract more cats or vermin, among other complaints.

Following an article in The National, the board has since allowed Provis, the community manager, to build a permanent feeding station, similar to those it has installed in other developments.

And one of the cats, Buster, is now even being fostered by a resident, after most of his teeth had to be removed owing to an infection in his jaw.

Bandar resident Nadine Weiner, 36, from Austria, took him in to protect him during his recovery.

She is looking for a home for him, but said he may well end up staying with her as they have grown fond of each other.

“One thing that’s not going to happen is he’s not going to go out on the street again because now for two months he’s been used to being inside and I could not put him outside again,” said Ms Weiner, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for more than a year.

It is very likely he ended up there because he was abandoned by a previous owner.

“He knew everything a cat knows, how to use the [litter tray] and so on, from day one,” Ms Weiner said.

“In the beginning he sat and screamed at the door because he wanted to get out. He stopped that after he saw outside was just a corridor and he was not so interested.”

Sean Steyn, a resident of Al Bandar, plays with Buster and Honey at Al Raha Beach. Photo: Khushnum Bhandari / The National

"He is now used to being inside, and gets to go out and sun himself on the balcony, which he really likes," she said.

“He’s the cutest cat I’ve ever met. He is so cuddly and playful. He finally got to know what it’s like to not sit on the street and instead chase balls around the apartment, so that’s what he does all day long,” she said.

Brigitte Steyn, a resident in Al Bandar, who campaigned to get the cats to stay, said she is delighted they are now safe from eviction.

“The feeding station has been successfully placed under the stairs next to the building by Provis – they agreed to accept Buster and Honey,” said Ms Steyn, who is from South Africa.

“We are all grateful for Buster spending his days lounging on a couch.

“As for Honey, she is still around and makes use of her new feeding station.”

Updated: December 24th 2021, 6:21 AM