Torture and killing of kitten fuels safety call

Pet owners in Abu Dhabi urged to keep a close eye on their animals after six-week old Little Junior is found with its throat slit.

Patricia Assaad writes a message on a stone which will be placed at the burial site of six-week old Little Junior. Ravindranath K / The National
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ABU DHABI // Vets in Abu Dhabi are warning pet owners after a case of suspected torture and the ritual killing of a kitten was reported.

Little Junior was a six-week old stray kitten taken in by Patricia Assaad, from Lebanon, who regularly feeds stray cats in her community.

Ms Assaad returned from work on Sunday to find the kitten – one of a litter of three – laid out on the grass near her home with its throat slit and symbols carved into its back legs.

The incident horrified the community near Abu Dhabi City Gates.

“I was in a total state of shock,” Ms Assaad said, who works in marketing.

“I contacted the police, who arrived quickly. They too were horrified, but said there was little they could do as there were no witnesses.

“Nobody saw what happened, or anyone acting suspiciously, which is surprising as there are many windows around. We’re not sure if the kitten was taken away from the area to be attacked, then returned later.”

Ms Assaad took the still-warm body of Little Junior to the emergency Australian Veterinary Hospital in Khalifa City, who examined him.

Vets assessed the wounds and concluded that they were not inflicted by another animal.

“It looks like whoever did this was trying to write the number 10,” Ms Assaad said, describing the wound on the cat’s rear legs. “It is difficult to draw a zero with a knife but that’s what it looks like.

“It was hard to tell if [the drawing] had been done before or after the cat was killed. This is the sort of thing you read about, but you never think it will happen to your pet.”

Dr Susan Aylott, a vet and volunteer with Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi, said pet owners should keep a close eye on their animals.

“Someone who goes to such barbaric lengths to cause pain and suffering like this needs to be stopped,” she said.

Resident Mohamad Arabe, from Lebanon, said he found the cat “with its throat slit and part of its neck missing”.

“Something like that is just cruel and forbidden. It was a horrific scene, and this is the first time something like this happens in the compound. I am, of course, worried about something like that happening again.”

He said he would not be letting his own cat outside by himself.

“I live in a villa, so if the cat wants to go outside, he goes out with me but with a leash,” he said.

The attack had the hallmarks of a number of mutilations on animals across London this year.

The decapitation of cats began in Croydon, south London, and continued for months, spreading across the English counties of Kent and Surrey. Fifty cases were reported.

* With additional reporting by Dana Moukhallati