Friday, July 20, 2012

Charlie's New Home in Abu Dhabi

by Christine Michaels

And so we continue Charlie's magic carpet ride to Abu Dhabi, a series of posts that follows the journey of Charlie, a once abandoned cat in downtown Miami, and the exemplary steps by his pet guardians to ensure his safe transport to their new home in the Middle East. We left off in part two where Charlie was settling in the AVC Cattery.

Nina, his mother, visited Charlie daily as the cattery was located a few blocks from the hotel where Nina and Felipe resided until they found a permanent home. When I asked Nina about the staff and care of the cats in Abu Dhabi, her response was "Tony, the man in the photo below of Indian descent, has two cats of his own and he's really a cat lover. He and his staff check on the cats several times a day. They ensure the cats eat their food, and if not, then they switch their food to a brand the guardians have pre-approved. The cats are also weighed daily. The staff pet the cats and talk to them, it's amazing."

Tony with a client cat
Charlie resting on higher level in his three- story cage

Turns out Charlie took comfort in the over-sized but private compartments in the cattery.  So much so he met a feline named Belle and fell in love during his exploration time. That was fast! They sniffed, rubbed noses and purred. Perhaps his middle name should be anointed "Casanova".

The time came to move to their new condo. Like all cats, new surroundings generate consternation, like exposing oneself. Charlie searched frantically for a place to hide in a room piled with boxes. Let the Musical Hiding Game begin! First there was the oven...

"This is no good, they can see me!"
 Then he scrambled inside the dishwasher...
"Better but uncomfortable"
 And of course a favorite--the clothes closet.
"Ok--familiar scent, looks like a closet but it's not the Miami closet"

With time and at his own pace, Charlie explored his new home. (This is important during the transition to a new home. Never force a cat to come out from hiding or to lay on the sofa or on your lap. Your cat will know when the time is right.)
"Hmm I wonder what's there?"

"Will I fit here to hide?"

"That shelf is looking mighty purrfect for me to hide"

And finally, something familiar--a chair. When the furniture arrived from their home in Miami, Nina unwrapped the tall chairs and Charlie jumped with glee. "This has my scent! And my mommy and daddy's scent and our other home..."

Charlie napping in the living room on his favorite chair.
(He's also not hiding anymore)
Then there was the question of exercise.  Charlie used to jump on the bed and desk and office chair back in Miami. But with minimal furniture, Nina and Felipe were concerned that Charlie was lacking exercise. They were right. But the solution was an easy one. They purchased LACK shelves from the local IKEA. This accomplished two goals--maintaining a modern theme and ensuring Charlie had plenty of vertical space for exercise. Cat furniture is very limited in UAE so thankfully there was a familiar store.

Charlie inside IKEA bag

(Charlie napping on tall chair)
Shelves on wall are for Charlie's climbing pleasure
Charlie sitting on Nina's lap in new condo in Abu Dhabi

Charlie is bored with his new view--construction boom in Abu Dhabi

We are thrilled to share this story of Charlie's rescue and adoption and his big move half way around the world. It's a fine example of responsible pet parenting. Nina and Felipe spared no expense in ensuring the safe transport of their newest family addition. They took the time to do their homework, cross checking with officials and vets both in the US and UAE. 

But this is not the end of Charlie's story just this chapter. We will continue to provide updates on Charlie and eventually Riverfront Cats will celebrate this special adoption story with our Rags to Riches Contest. Stay tuned!

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