When he has finished telling you about his many female conquests Picasso will answer your questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why should I support Safe Haven Egypt?

SHE has been working for years on animal preservation and welfare in Egypt. Your social media shares, donations, sponsorships, adoptions, and even visits to the Haven help to bring worldwide attention to the situation in Egypt as well as to further the life-saving rescue efforts of SHE. The hope of SHE is for our work to impact real, substantial change.  

Sadly, we cannot save every cat in Cairo, not even in our neighbourhood. But we make a difference for those individual cats that we do save.  And we hope that through baseline efforts to educate our youngest generations, we may begin to bring about the slow process of change to the way that animals are viewed by people, families, and eventually, the government.

Why should I adopt from Egypt when there are plenty of cats in need in my country?

Adopting a rescue animal from anywhere is a lovely, kind, rewarding act, whether the creature is local or abroad. The situation in Egypt is especially dire because there are no laws or governmental agencies that look after the health and welfare of animals. As a result, there is no culture of respect or care for animals at a societal level. Cruelty is an everyday occurrence, with no consequences. There is the start of a grassroots effort to teach young children about respect for animals, but this is in its infancy stage.

Every adoption from Egypt not only saves an individual animal and makes room for another, but also contributes to helping us influence attitudes towards animals (objects versus family members). We are hopeful that one day, we will see the introduction of laws preventing animal cruelty in Egypt and believe daily rescue work, supported by an international network, is a crucial step in that direction.

What happens if a cat doesn't get adopted?

Safe Haven Egypt is exactly that: a safe haven. Should a rescued cat (and the occasional dog) not find a forever family to claim them, they are granted lifelong residency at SHE.

Can the Haven receive visitors?

Yes! We welcome visitors to come love on our kitties and offer a lending hand with daily tasks. Please reach out to our Admin Team to inquire!

Is it healthy for a cat to be kept indoors?

Yes. Cats are creatures of habit and territory. If a cat has indoor space or protected outdoor space to call its own, it will be quite healthy and happy. For indoor-only cats we advise vertical spaces (i.e.: cat towers or wall shelves) as well as low spaces (i.e.: cat beds and cubbies) in the recesses of the room (not the main passageways) so your kitty can sit happily in its own space and observe its territory. Window perches are also advised for ‘Cat TV’ such as bird watching, insect watching, etc.

Ultimately, an indoor life ensures your feline companion will have a much higher chance of remaining with you for years to come. Unfortunately, their life expectancy is halved when exposed to unsupervised outdoor time, as many of SHE’s own rescue cases so aptly demonstrate.

Kittens raised at the Haven have had little to no exposure to outdoor life, and find plenty of stimuli indoors and/or in secure garden areas, where they truly thrive. Our adult residents have experienced great trauma in the streets of Cairo and it would not be fair for them to relive those traumas in a new home.

Why are so many SHE cats blind?

Blindness in animals can be caused by many different factors, such as: 
• Birth defects 
• Upper-respiratory infection (URI) gone untreated and ruptured due to living in streets without a guardian
• Injury or eye infection gone untreated 
• Herpes virus contracted from mother during birth gone untreated 
• Human cruelty

It is hard to say if there is actually a much higher percentage of blind cats in Egypt than in other corners of the world.  But because they cannot survive very well on the street, they are often identified by individuals or rescue groups. Additionally, a number of the cats could have been prevented from going blind had they been found earlier, or raised under better conditions prior to rescue.

Still, blind cats are incredibly adaptable and will most often lead perfectly happy, healthy and long lives. If you’re curious to learn about how previously adopted SHE blindies are doing, and about how their guardians have learnt to provide care for them, please feel free to visit our Facebook Group Where Are They Meow!

How do I go about sponsoring a cat?

Sponsorship works in a few different ways: 

• When a new arrival comes into the Haven’s care, SHE followers have the opportunity to be the first to respond with initial sponsorship. The first to do so also has the honour of naming the newcomer. This may be done by following and commenting on the Main SHE group on Facebook, where intake updates are posted live. Sponsorship is then sent via PayPal or bank transfer, with monthly costs adding up to £35 or equivalent for adult cats and £25 for kittens.

Monthly, members may choose to send full or partial sponsorship via PayPal or bank transfer and designate funds to a previously rescued and named cat. Appeals for sponsorship are posted on the aforementioned SHE Group, but potential sponsors may choose to reach out via e-mail at any point to be assigned a sponsor cat or kitten

• Supporters may also choose to sponsor a cat for the duration of its time at the Haven, until adopted. To do so, please contact our team with the name or description of the cat you’d like to sponsor, or let us know if you’d like to have a cat assigned to you.

I can't afford sponsorship and can't adopt. Can I still support SHE?

Yes, of course you can! We run fundraisers at different times of the year. Perhaps you can take part directly, or donate an item for auction or raffle? 

Are you able to knit or crochet? Even though the Haven is in Egypt, there still is a winter season and it can get quite chilly, particularly at night. We are always delighted to receive blankets or jumpers that have been hand-made with love for our cats. You don’t have to post it to Cairo; we have regular visitors who are always willing to take donations for the Haven. 

There is one way that you can help us that doesn’t cost anything but your time. Help us spread the word! Tell others about our organisation. If you know of someone who is looking to adopt a cat, please share our information or any of the individual cat profiles. Join our Facebook Group and our Adoption Group. The more people we reach, the more cats we can adopt out. And the more we can adopt, the more we can help. 

We are also always looking for volunteers to help with home checks for new adopters (training provided). Additionally, there are times when we could use a hand with transporting a cat or cats from Point A to Point B, either to/from foster arrangements or forever homes. Please contact a member of our Admin Team or email us on hello@safehavenegypt.cat if you’d be interested in lending a hand. 

I have adopted from SHE but can no longer look after my cat. What do I do?

Guardians must inform the Safe Haven Egypt team immediately about any change in circumstances which would mean that the cat is not getting the attention or care previously agreed upon. 

No SHE cats are to be rehomed without the knowledge and consent of the SHE team. Unless specified otherwise, in the event of a rehome, cats should return to the Haven (for those adopted locally) or an affiliate, specified foster carer orchestrated by SHE in order for an appropriate, new home to be found.

If you find yourself unable to look after your SHE cat due to unforeseen circumstances, please contact one of our administrators at hello@safehavenegypt.cat.

I fell in love with a SHE cat. Now what?

As you can see in our step-by-step adoption process, welcoming an Egyptian cat into your home is made as stress-free as possible thanks to our group of experienced workers and volunteers. 

Once you fall in love with a SHE cat, the next step is to contact one of our team members via e-mail or through our Adoption Group on Facebook. After a few questions to determine whether your routine fits in well with your chosen cat’s needs and lifestyle, we will move on to a home check, conducted by a trained local volunteer.

The total cost of adoption is £175 (or your local equivalent) per cat, which covers only a part of travel costs, the rest of which is fundraised by the Haven. 

After a successful home check, your chosen cat is reserved and we begin preparations for travel. Upon reservation, we ask for a £75 deposit, which is subtracted from the total adoption fee. The remaining £100 are due once travel has been booked.

Travel itineraries vary from country to country. To read more on each type of travel, please see ‘What is the journey from Cairo like?’ below. It all depends on the country where you live and the treaties that it has in place with Egypt for travel of domesticated animals. Generally speaking, cats will travel with a designated flight parent and will then be consigned to either their adopters (non-UK adoption) or a trusted volunteer (UK adoption), who will be responsible for onward travel to a designated location – your home, in case of a non-UK adoption, or the volunteer’s home, in case of a UK adoption.  

Our adoption steps were created to ensure a good match and loving journey for both you and your cat(s).

What does a home check entail?

Home checks are designed to ensure three things: 
• That you, your family, and your chosen cat(s) are a good match for one another; 
• That your home is a safe and healthy environment for one of our rescues; 
• That you are committed to lifelong care and guardianship. 

Once you are committed to the adoption process, an admin will coordinate one of our many volunteers to schedule a mutually-agreeable time to meet in your home for an interview and tour of the premises. 

It is good to note than some cats have different needs than others and, should your home or family not be suitable for one, there may be a better fit to consider.

I have a pet already. Can I still adopt from SHE?

Absolutely! Integration, however, should be considered carefully. Welcoming a new cat home can bring on territorial insecurities even in the most well-socialised cats. With that in mind, we advise you introduce a newcomer gradually to any and all resident pets. This can be done by not only setting up a safe room for your new cat (as mentioned above) but working on a series of steps:

• Scent swapping: give both new and resident cats items that allow for rubbing, scratching, or lying in (i.e.: beds, blankets, cardboard scratchers). Once one has fully marked an item with their scent, place it in the area where the other is, and vice versa. This allows for the cats to familiarise themselves with new scents as well as associating them with neutral or positive items.

• Site swapping: once your new cat demonstrates a notable comfort level in their safe space, give them the opportunity to explore the other’s territory, and vice versa. This should be done while avoiding that the cats meet face to face. This step helps in establishing territorial confidence as well as presents an opportunity for key signposts (i.e.: cat trees, litter boxes) to take on a shared scent.

• Feeding ritual: bring your cats closer and closer every day by feeding them on each side of a closed door or gate, until you have them eat ‘in front’ of each other without hesitation or signs of discomfort.

• Introduction: once all cats are comfortable in each other’s scents and theoretical presence, make use of play, food and affection to create an environment where negative association is avoided at all costs. In order to create the highest of high-value experiences you can offer your cats, begin by engaging one in play (with treats for encouragement, if needed) and, once they are fully engaged, have someone bring the other cat(s) into the room. Engage them in play as well and sustain the momentum for as long as you deem appropriate, depending on their energy levels. Feed them on either side of the room and repeat the process every day at meal times, until the cats are fully comfortable with one another. 

While reactions vary from cat to cat and no method is a one-size-fits-all, these steps have worked time and time again in helping new and resident cats accept, trust and love each other.

Please remember that feline integration is a slow process and while exceptions do exist, you should not expect a new cat to be welcomed into an established pack after a couple days, nor is it safe for you to attempt an introduction too early on. Cats who have been adopted at different times in life can bond beautifully, given the right tools.

I have never had a cat before. Can I still adopt from SHE?

Yes. We are happy for our cats to be adopted into homes that have never had the pleasure of living with a feline before.  Our Admin Team will work with you to identify which of our cats might be best suited for you, taking into account your lifestyle, working hours, family structure, etc. You will be given some advice about what items you will need to acquire to have a cat in your home. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask questions and have an open discussion about cat ownership during your home check.

We also recommend that you do some research on your own as well, but we can help steer you in the right direction. Once your cat has travelled and you are getting to know each other, we are happy to answer questions and offer advice on a one-to-one basis, or through our forums where you can communicate with the broader community of SHE Adopters.

I am in rented accommodation. Can I still adopt a cat?

If your landlord gives you permission to have a cat, then yes, you are welcome to adopt from us. We recommend getting this permission in writing (private landlord or through the council – UK) so that there are no problems raised in the future. We may ask to see the letter, or the part of your lease that gives you permission to have a pet.

How is a 'Flight Parent' found?

We find Flight Parents in a variety of ways. Some of them are local friends of the Haven who may be travelling for business or personal reasons and are willing to take SHE cats with them. Sometimes, the adopters themselves fly to the Haven to collect their cat in person, and may be willing to take other cats going to the same destination. 

We do get regular visitors to the Haven, and depending on the location they’re from and if they are willing, we may ask if they are willing to take a cat or cats as a flight parent. 

If we have cats ready to travel, with no prospects in site of friends or visitors travelling to the locations needed, we do have another option. There are various websites and groups run for rescues which exist solely to help match up willing travellers with rescue groups who need someone to escort their cats. 

What is the journey from Cairo to Continental Europe like?

For cats travelling to the majority of EU locations, they will do so with the aid of a Flight Parent. We arrange to meet the Flight Parent at the airport in advance of their flight, bringing along the cat(s) and accompanying paperwork. A quick briefing is then provided so that new flight parents understand how to manoeuvre the check-in process.

With very small cats, on certain airlines, they may be able to be taken into the main cabin and put under the seat in front of the traveler, using a soft carrier. However, the bulk of cats travelling with a Flight Parent use a regular cat carrier and are checked in just like luggage. They are not put with the suitcases, though; they are placed in a special, pressurised, climate-controlled part of the cargo area.

Upon arrival at the destination, they are unloaded along with luggage and delivered to baggage claim along with oversized luggage and specialty items like golf clubs and skis. The cats’ paperwork may be examined as the flight parent leaves the secure baggage area. Afterwards, they meet up with the adopter(s) or a local coordinator, depending on the circumstances.

It is important to note that regulations may change, so we keep up-to-date on the process for sending cats between Egypt and the various countries within the EU. 

What is the journey from Cairo to the UK like?

We currently are able to send cats to the UK in one of two ways. 

• They may travel to Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport with a Flight Parent, in which case they are picked up by a SHE volunteer and driven to the UK via Calais using the Eurotunnel. The cats’ paperwork is checked at the Animal Reception Centre prior to check-in for the tunnel journey and each cat has its microchip scanned. The SHE volunteer will stop en route periodically to ensure that the cats have clean carriers and they are offered food and water. 

Once in the UK, the cats are driven to the volunteer’s home, where they must stay for at least 48 hours per current regulations. The volunteers look after the cats, give them plenty of toys and stimulation, and are in regular contact with the adopters. Adopters make arrangements with the volunteers to pick up their cats following the 48 hour hold period. When we schedule a flight and choose the cats for travel, we set up a chat group between the adopters. In this manner, it may be possible for adopters to work together to arrange shared onward transportation for the cats to reach their forever homes.

For more details about how the animals travel to Paris, see ‘What is the journey like from Cairo to Continental Europe?’

• The other option is to have the cats shipped via cargo to London Heathrow Airport. In this case, the cats travel in larger, wooden crates. They are required to be at the Cairo airport the night before the next day’s morning flight. The crates are loaded onto the plane in a special, pressurised, climate-controlled part of the cargo area

We work with a clearance agent who handles all the logistics for when the cats arrive at Heathrow. The agent arranges for the cat crates to be removed from the plane and taken to the Animal Reception Centre. There, they are put into large, individual pens (or they can share when we have bonded cats travelling) and given food and water. All of the paperwork is reviewed, microchips are scanned and confirmed, and the cats are examined by a veterinarian to ensure good health.  

Once the cats are ready to be released, the agent telephones the SHE volunteer who has offered to look after the cats for their first 48 hours in the country.  The volunteer schedules a time to arrive at the Animal Reception Centre. 

The cats are then picked up and driven to the volunteer’s home, where they must stay for at least 48 hours per current regulations. The volunteers look after the cats, give them plenty of toys and stimulation, and are in regular contact with the adopters. Adopters make arrangements with the volunteers to pick up their cats following the 48 hour hold period. When we schedule a flight and choose the cats for travel, we set up a chat group between the adopters. In this manner, it may be possible for adopters to work together to arrange shared onward transportation for the cats to reach their forever homes.

It is important to note that regulations may change, so we keep up-to-date on the process for sending cats between Egypt and the UK.

Where can an adopted cat fly into for US adoptions?

As cat transport is dependant on Flight Parent availability, cats will most commonly fly into John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) located in Queens, NY. On occasion, flight parents can be booked into other US airports, but this is less common for inbound flights coming to the US from Cairo. Further transportation may be arranged once an initial flight has been booked, but this will vary on a case-by-case basis. The costs and arrangement of any ongoing transportation beyond the inbound flight into the US must be paid for by the adopter.

I am having difficulties with my recently adopted cat. Who can I turn to for help?

The SHE Team is dedicated to seeing their rescued cats thrive in their forever homes. If you find yourself struggling with integration, litter issues, or any behavioural issues, please reach out to our team at hello@safehavenegypt.cat.

Another helpful forum for advice is our Where are They Meow Facebook Group, where adopters and cat-owner supporters from all over the world are gathered to follow adoptees’ progress.

Ready to find your new feline companion?