Rescuers work to save cats from Mina Plaza before demolition on Friday

Up to 100 cats believed to live in the cluster of unfinished tower blocks on Mina Zayed

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Animal rescuers are working to save dozens of cats from a cluster of buildings scheduled for demolition later this week.

Mina Plaza, a group of three unfinished tower blocks, will be razed on Friday to make way for a major regeneration project in Abu Dhabi’s port area.

Rescuers say the buildings are home to up to 100 cats, which live in the basement, and they are concerned about what will happen to them.

Susan Aylott, a vet and partner in Animalia, a veterinary clinic in Al Bateen, said she had written to Modon Properties, the company overseeing the demolition, to find out if any plans are in place to protect the animals.

She wants permission to rescue the cats if Modon has not yet made arrangements.


Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi was set up two and a half years ago to improve the lives of animals in Abu Dhabi. The group was started by, and is still run by, Dr Susan Aylott.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

Reporter: Gill Duncan
Section: NA
Dr Susan Aylott is working to rescue dozens of cats that live in the towers due to be demolished this week. Reem Mohammed / The National

“We have to try and get them out somehow, if they haven’t,” Dr Aylott said.

“We have treated and sterilised so many cats from Mina Port with community support,” she said.

“We know many of these cats that are probably living in and around the building. And we know for sure there are many cats living in the basement.”

Abu Dhabi resident Patrizia Dalbo, from Italy, feeds two colonies of cats at Mina Port, close to the demolition area.

“I feed the colony at Mina Port, but not the demolition site,” she said.

“Somebody told me there are colonies that live inside the tower. It’s very dangerous. I am really worried about these cats.”

Modon Properties was contacted for comment.

Construction on the 246,500 square metre development, comprising three apartment towers and an office block, began in 2007 but was halted twice before being abandoned in 2015.

The development was supposed to include luxuries such as a ­helipad sunbathing deck, a covered spa and wading pool, as well as a private medical centre.

But work was stopped in November 2012 after the project’s owners and builders became embroiled in a dispute.

Construction was due to begin again in October 2014, but the work was never completed.

In 2015, the Malaysian construction company appointed to build the towers announced it was pulling out.

The 144-storey buildings stood half-finished for years at the end of the Corniche, a rare eyesore on the Abu Dhabi skyline.

They will be demolished at 8am on Friday to make way for an ambitious 300-hectare project, which will overhaul existing souqs and build separate facilities for fish, fruit and vegetable markets.