Emily Shotter on why street cats are worth adopting and how you can care for them.
The issue of breed is a big one here in Oman. I hear so many people saying: “Oh, I’d love a cat but I don’t want a bin cat.” A cat is a cat. The so-called “bin cats” here are actually a globally recognised breed; the Arabian Mau, one that comes out in the top five breeds, according to experts. In the UK and US, people pay a lot of money for Arabian Maus. Whereas here, people pay a lot of money for UK and US “street cats”! It’s a sad irony in many ways.
But if you’re convinced you want a long-haired cat, pure or mixed breed (bearing in mind that many “breeds” here are not pure-bred and do not come with certificates) then you should be aware of the work required to look after them.
First, you have daily brushing. Yes, daily; sometimes twice a day! My two Persian cats get knotted very easily and if I don’t brush them every day, their knots become unmanageable and painful for them as they pull on a cat’s skin.
Secondly, you will need to spend more on them. Most long-haired breeds are less hardy and healthy than the mixed breeds or short-haired local cats, so expect to pay more in vets bills and care.
Then there are furballs. Even daily brushing doesn’t stop long-haired cats ingesting a lot of fur so you will need to give them solutions to help prevent problems. But don’t be mad if you have the odd regurgitated furball waiting for you in the morning!
You have been warned.