* Pakistani expatriate Syed Faheem Uddin feels a sense of satisfaction as he feeds at least 100 cats each day in Qatar
It all started three years ago when he lost a pet cat and started a hunt for it. He could not find the one he looked for and instead came across hundreds of feral or stray cats in different parts of Qatar. The stray cats caught his attention and since then he has been feeding almost 100 cats every day.
Syed Faheem Uddin is an active member of the Pakistani expatriate community. A resident of Qatar for over 16 years now, he has been a prominent figure among the Urdu literary circles in Qatar for his poetry. He has also authored as many as 14 books and three others are in line. Besides being a known literary figure in Qatar, he carries love for rare collection of precious stones and gems.
“My love for cats started some three years ago when a stray one walked into my house and became a family member. Sometime later, she was lost, that led to a search for the cat. Instead of finding the lost one, I got connected with hundreds of others. Since then, I have either abandoned or placed on back burner my other hobbies. I have gone to a kind of seclusion just for the cats,” said Faheem, who worked for Qatar Petroleum for many years before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The cat lover has also been working with some rescue groups to take care of stray cats and dogs. He however says that he does this all for himself and not for others. “I love and take care of the creature of Allah as it gives me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I have a one-on-one relationship with many cats and I enjoy their friendship. I have learnt how to talk to them (laughs). It has become a passion for me and I have dedicated some of my property in Pakistan for a cat foundation. I have plans to set up a sanctuary for the stray and disabled animals in Pakistan.”
Faheem has also been involved in rescue activities for stray cats along with the government departments and rescue groups in Qatar. “During the rescue efforts, I met many vets here. I found that there should be more and more veterinary doctors. I have facilitated the process of some such doctors coming from Pakistan to Qatar. With the help of my doctor friends, I have plans to establish a vet facility in Qatar.”
The animal lover follows a set routine sparing most of his time for stray cats. “I carry cat food and water in my vehicle and go out every evening. I move around in different localities and feed at least 100 cats every day.
“Earlier I used to keep the rescued cats at my home but after I lost my job, I faced some constraints in having them at home. Some of the rescued cats, I gave to my friends who adopted them.”
Faheem stresses the need for raising awareness about how to take care of stray animals. “I continue to sensitise my own community and other expatriates about how to love and care for the cats. My efforts have led to adoption of animals with disabilities by many people. We consider the rescued animals the special breeds and urge people to take care of them besides raising the best breeds of animals. Minimum a person can do is to place a small bucket of water outside his or her house for the stray animals. As the pandemic has taken away the facility of dining out, people can spare some money to buy cat food. I think we need to raise awareness among school children. I also highlight the Islamic teachings regarding love and care for animals. I also create short stories to highlight significance of the love for animals.”