Life can be incredibly difficult for stray animals in Egypt; animal lovers constantly find themselves saving cats and dogs that have been run over by cars, abused, or abandoned by their owners. However, a collective, wide-scale effort is needed to actually make a structural and sustainable difference. While there has been more awareness of animal cruelty, ways to support animal shelters, adopting stray cats and dogs, and holding pet stores accountable for adequate conditions, there is always more that can be done.
If you find yourself feeling helpless by the number of stray animals left hungry on the streets, these are simple things you can do that won’t take much effort but will change these animals’ lives immensely.
1. Support TNR Programs
There are several programs in Egypt designed to trap, neuter or spay, and return stray animals to help control the increasingly growing stray animal population, such as Egyptian Vets for Animal Care (EVAC), TNR Maadi, and TNR Zamalek. They also usually vaccinate the animals to protect them from diseases like rabies.
You can take initiative by donating to these organizations. The more TNR programs are implemented, the fewer animals there are on the streets vulnerable to poisoning or abuse.
2. Become a Feeder
A lot of people complain about stray animals getting into the garbage, but it’s because they’re starving and they need to survive in the harsh streets of Egypt. A win-win solution is to pack leftovers and leave them in plates on the street. You’ll be reducing food waste, and strays won’t have to rummage through piles of garbage.
Food that is safe for animal consumption needs to be unseasoned, and there are specific foods animals cannot eat, like chocolate, for example. An alternative option would be to buy cheap dry food from a pet supplies shop and use that instead. For more details on how to feed stray animals responsibly, click here.
3. Help Them Hydrate in the Heat
Summer in Egypt can be unbearable for animals and humans alike, so a simple way you can help is using old plastic bottles and containers to offer animals water. Keep the containers in a shaded area so the water doesn’t heat up or evaporate too quickly, and try to refill them whenever you’re going out. It may seem like a minor step but it’ll make a world of difference for them.
Birds also get very thirsty in the heat, so keeping a small water bowl outside your window could be very helpful as well.
4. Reuse Cardboard Boxes
The sun makes the street asphalt incredibly hot during the summer, which is why a lot of stray cats and dogs sleep under cars and can end up getting run over. A simple way to help them is by taking old cartons and putting them in hidden areas of sidewalks so cats and dogs can have a safe, shaded place away from cars or pedestrians. It’ll cost you nothing since the cartons would have ended up in the trash anyway.
In the winter, you can put old blankets or towels in these boxes to offer them some warmth from the cold.
5. Spread Awareness
Stray animals in Egypt face a lot of cruelty and mistreatment on a daily basis, especially from young children. If you spot someone mistreating an animal, make it a point to intervene and educate. Changing just one person’s perspective can save many animals from potential abuse.
6. Donate to Shelters
Animal shelters are constantly in need of your support, whether financial or otherwise. Non-financial donations can include medications, old blankets and towels, old appliances (such as refrigerators), toys, and even cleaning supplies.
These shelters cost a fortune to maintain and many rely solely on donations. If you’re doing some spring cleaning, stop and think about whether the item you’re throwing away could be useful for them. To know more about dog shelters you can support in Egypt, click here.
7. Become a Flight Parent
If you’re a frequent traveler, a simple and free way to support Egypt’s stray animals is to volunteer to become a flight parent to animals that found homes abroad. When a shelter finds a home for a stray dog or cat overseas, they finalize the travel documents and pay for the flight, but just need an individual onboard the flight to be responsible for the animal until they arrive at their destination. Flight parents are usually needed on trips to Canada and Europe. If you’re interested in becoming a flight parent, reach out to animal shelters on social media.
Finally, if you want to get a pet, consider adopting a baladi cat or dog from a shelter, off of Facebook adoption groups, or directly off the streets. Baladi animals are known for their intelligence and they’re adapted to Egypt’s climate, unlike breeds that are accustomed to cold weather. Even if you insist on getting a specific breed, there are hundreds of breeds who have been abandoned by former owners in Egypt’s dog shelters.
9. Coordinate with Your Neighbors
There are several Facebook groups dedicated to animal welfare in specific neighborhoods, like Maadi Animal Welfare and Friends of Zamalek Stray Animals. These groups are great for organizing rescue missions for animals in need or for finding lost pets in the area.
Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.