Saudi animal-lovers find ‘purrfect’ feeding solution for city’s hungry stray cats

1 / 3
Alkhobar municipality has launched its Food of Mercy initiative to feed the cats and other animals on the waterfront, Municipality leader, Eng. Sultan Al-Zaidi (top right), told Arab News. (Supplied)
2 / 3
Alkhobar municipality has launched its Food of Mercy initiative to feed the cats and other animals on the waterfront. (Supplied)
3 / 3
Alkhobar municipality has launched its Food of Mercy initiative to feed the cats and other animals on the waterfront. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 30 April 2020

Saudi animal-lovers find ‘purrfect’ feeding solution for city’s hungry stray cats

  • Alkhobar municipality has launched its Food of Mercy initiative to feed the cats and other animals on the waterfront

JEDDAH: Animal-lovers in a Saudi city have come up with the purrfect solution for feeding hungry stray cats during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

Feral felines on Alkhobar’s corniche used to live off food from visitors, but due to restrictions on movement introduced to stop the spread of the deadly virus, the area has become almost deserted and scraps have been scarce.

But with the backing of caring residents, Alkhobar municipality has launched its Food of Mercy initiative to feed the cats and other animals on the waterfront.

Municipality leader, Eng. Sultan Al-Zaidi, told Arab News: “The initiative comes in compliance with the merciful teachings of Islam that demand us to show mercy to all living creatures. Taking good care of animals and treating them well is a noble Islamic principle.”

He said cats on the corniche had relied on food given to them by people visiting the area, but COVID-19 preventive regulations had forced trippers to stay at home leaving the strays to go hungry.

“The precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have included the closure of restaurants, which has also added to the struggle of these animals in finding a source of food. So, this initiative will help these cats survive.

“On a small budget, we have done a good job. In different locations along the seafront we have installed more than 60 food and water tubes to feed stray cats and to provide them with the dry meals they need to survive,” Al-Zaidi added.

He denied claims that some animals had been found dead on the seafront, and said the project was “a gesture of humanity after the coronavirus affected the source of food these animals have depended on for a long time.”

Local residents have contacted the municipality to volunteer their support for the initiative which Al-Zaidi said could continue once the health crisis was over “due to its positive returns.”

He noted that animal protection organizations, including the Humane Society of Saudi Arabia (Rifq) and the Saudi Society for Animal Welfare, along with citizens, officials, social media users, and private bodies had shown their appreciation for the initiative.

Animal abuse and mistreatment is a criminal offence in Saudi Arabia. In October 2019, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture fined 28 offenders a total of SR1.76 million ($470,000) for animal cruelty and food-health violations which took place between June and August of that year.


Saudi program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

Updated 01 October 2020

Saudi program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

  • Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions

RIYADH: The King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and the Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation (IPDC) on Wednesday launched the Dialogue Program 2020 among religious leaders and organizations in the Arab world.

KAICIID secretary-general, Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar, said the center aims to enhance the culture of dialogue and coexistence, and highlight the value of human diversity.

He said the center also lays the foundations of understanding and collaboration among all religions and cultures, and highlights the importance of building a diverse culture.

The center provides sustainable solutions for today’s challenges, he added.

“Serious dialogue can enhance the role of interreligious institutions, helping to promote a culture of dialogue, coexistence and tolerance in society,” he said. “The message of the center addresses all humankind and not a specific society.”

The terrorist events that ripped through the region were the result of fanaticism and hatred, he said, noting that people of all diverse and multiple backgrounds can coexist peacefully in society.

“Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions. The Document of Madinah included a comprehensive constitution that guides people of different religious backgrounds on how to live together peacefully and practice their religion freely, and, most importantly, enhance the values of coexistence, justice, security and peace among one another,” he added.

Bin Muaammar called on those who have the capability to fight the discourse of extremism, saying that dialogue can enhance “human principles and values such as mercy, respect, tolerance, peace and social solidarity.”

He also urged religious leaders and institutions, as well as policymakers, to promote such values and strengthen comprehensive citizenship.

“Those leaders and institutions can fight and confront the threats facing peaceful coexistence and tolerance, threats that are posed by extreme groups,” he said. “Religious institutions should enhance the culture of common citizenship, each in their society.”

KAICIID contributes to such efforts through its experience and collaboration with relevant institutions around the world.

The Dialogue Program 2020 promotes dialogue, common citizenship and coexistence in the Arab world through cooperation in a range of projects. It also challenges messages of hate locally, nationally and regionally.