Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 June 2019

Abandoned Aswad and feline friend desperately need new home

Cat owner dumped Aswad three years ago, say the people who feed him, and he has waited outside his Dubai home ever since. They are worried about his health in the summer heat

Aswad, the black Persian cat who was abandoned by his owners in Dubai and spent three years waiting for them. Zeina Zebian
Aswad, the black Persian cat who was abandoned by his owners in Dubai and spent three years waiting for them. Zeina Zebian

Rescuers are appealing for an urgent foster or forever family for a black Persian cat who is still waiting outside his former owner’s Dubai home, three years after they moved away.

In echoes of the story of Gussy, the cat who was left at a bus stop in Abu Dhabi, the long-haired black cat, who is known by the name Aswad, refuses to leave the area where he was abandoned in Mirdif, Shorooq.

People who were caring for him first posted about his plight on the Bin Kitty Collective Facebook page in January, but they were unable to find a permanent home for him at the time.

Zeina Zebian, 39, who is Lebanese but was born in Dubai, started feeding him three years ago when he was first abandoned. She is concerned for his welfare and how he is coping in the summer heat.

Because he is a Persian, he suffers with skin problems in the heat that require medicine.

She said Aswad, who has been neutered, used to belong to a former neighbour. The neighbour had bred the long-haired cats, but when they found it hard to sell them, they threw many of them out, including Aswad.

Lolito, Aswad's feline companion. Courtesy: Zeina Zebian
Lolito, Aswad's feline companion. Zeina Zebian

“One day, the family was suddenly evicted and they threw out the rest of the cats that were still inside her villa – 21 Persian cats,” Mrs Zebian said.

Many of them needed treatment and Mrs Zebian said she spent thousands of dirhams returning them to health.

“The villa was empty for a while and he would sleep on the kitchen window," she said. "Then, when new tenants came, he would come back in a very curious manner to smell the boxes and try to enter the villa to see if it was his family. Then he started hanging out on my doorstep.”

Together with her neighbours, they managed to rehome all of the cats except Aswad. He was later fostered briefly in an apartment together with Lolito, another cat with whom he has become inseparable.

“Lolito jumped off the third floor to run away. Thankfully, they called me and we found him. He was OK, no injuries,” Mrs Zebian said.

After Lolito left, Aswad was so scared that he would not eat, drink or go to the toilet for a day.

“He was just sitting on top for the kitchen cabinet,” said Mrs Zebian, who cannot take him in as she suffers from allergies, including to cats, which are so severe that she has spent time in hospital because of them.

“So the new home returned both of them. And I truly think the people were patient enough, so what he needs is a loving, dedicated family. And they need to be in another villa [so they have access to outside].”


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Mrs Zebian moved to another house in Dubai, but still keeps in touch with her former neighbours who continue to feed both Aswad, Lolito and other cats in the neighbourhood.

“It breaks my heart. I cried a lot after I moved, so the ladies keep me updated.”

Manisha Singh Sodhi, 30, from India, who has been following Aswad's story since it was first published on the Facebook group, said she was worried about how the cat is coping in the heat.

Although a cat lover, she cannot take him in herself as she already has 12 cats of her own in a one-bedroom apartment.

“Since I read it, I have been unable to forget his story. He is a totally black, so he is suffering in the heat. The lady who feeds him told me he is the most gentle cat she has ever come across,” Mrs Sodhi said.

“Three years sat outside a home, that’s loyalty – that’s love.”

Anyone willing to help Aswad and Lolito should contact gduncan@thenational.ae

Updated: August 16, 2018 03:58 PM