What is it like to be a cat in Qatar?

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What is it like to be a cat in Qatar?

Photographer: Lama A.

Photographer: Lama A.

Photographer: Lama A.

Nada E., Reporter

Cats. Cute, fluffy, and maybe a little evil.

This is what most people think when they hear the word “cats.”

They just love to sleep all day, eat, and maybe play with you — if they are up for it.

Unfortunately, here in Doha, not all cats get to live such a comfortable life. Here, cats are often abandoned, thrown out on the side of the road and left to fend for themselves on their own because their owners do not find them “cute” anymore or they become “too much work.” Wherever you look, you can find street cats jumping from trashcan to trashcan trying to find any food scraps to help them survive the day.

At ASD, Compassionate Companions is a club based in the lower school that focuses on controlling the cat population on the campus. Ms. Tracey Dodd, an elementary ESL teacher, and Ms. Trisha Benish, a learning support teacher in the UES, are the two organizers of the club.

“Having cats on campus is just a part of living in Doha,” said Ms. Dodd, which is why her group’s main objective is TNR — Trap, Neuter, Release. The slogan means the group aims to capture the cats, neuter them at the vet, then release them back on campus where the participants of the club make sure that they are well fed. This procedure allows the cat population to be monitored and prevents it from growing even more.

Beyond the ASD campus, Doha’s rescue group PAWS operates on an even larger scale. PAWS is a nonprofit organization that focuses on finding homes for stray cats and even dogs. They allow people to volunteer, adopt, foster, or donate. ASD student L. Abbas (’20) is a frequent volunteer there.

“It is really a lot of fun,” she said, “and I get to do it as my IB CAS project so it is a win-win situation.” By volunteering at PAWS, not only are students able to help reduce the problem of too many stray cats in Qatar, but they can also earn service hours or have their work count for the IB’s CAS requirements.

We often take what we have for granted, so it is important to give back, even if just to cats.

And even though it all might seem like the work students are doing does not matter, it will matter to the cat.

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