Friday, February 10, 2012

Cats Are Not Pets

Someone posted on Facebook the other day she was being evicted because her neighbors complained that she had dogs.  There are people who have dogs or other pets in the UAE, however they are not always allowed in most apartments.  I find most people in the Middle East are not big pet people and it is typically us Westerners who have them.

I love my pets.  My only condition to move to Turkey many years ago was that my dog could join me.  So when we moved to Dubai for sure I was not going to leave our two cats behind.  When we finally found a place, I noticed the contract had a no pet clause. “No pets allowed”.  I was not sure how strict this would be enforced, so for sure I was worried.

When I told this to one of my husband’s colleagues who is from the region and has lived in Dubai for many years, he ensured me there was nothing to worry about.   He said I shouldn’t have even brought up the subject.  However, since I did, the next time I went to the apartment office I was to tell the person working in the office “cats are not pets”.  What? 

As crazy as it sounds, when I went to sign the contract and the guy asked me about them, I thought about it for half a second and did as instructed.  “Well you know they are cats, and cats are not really pets”.   I couldn’t even believe those words came out of my mouth.  The guy paused for a second, looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Okay. Sign here."  What?

Needless to say I was in shock and had to control myself from laughing hysterically.  That was just about the craziest thing I have ever told someone and they so easily obliged.

In retrospect, it really was no big deal.  There are a few people in our complex who have dogs.  There are many signs that go up in the elevators about how this is against policy.  The dogs are still here.  Perhaps someone complains, but it is not enforced.  The dogs are on leashes so it is fine.

I tested this logic again here several years later.  I went to pick my husband up from work one day.  There is a small pick up area where I waited.  It was taking a few minutes, so I continued to wait.  I could see the security guard getting uncomfortable.  He came over to tell me I was in a no parking area.  I simply told him, “I am not parking”.  Like the guy who worked in my apartment office, he said “Okay” and walked off.

I feel like I have discovered some sort of super power.


CookingInStilettos said...

I love this post so much! It typifies what I love about the Mid-East and what most expats find so frustrating. Now if only I could say, "I'm not getting older." And my wrinkles would just shrug and walk away!

Pam said...

Thanks Wendy... I never thought of this before, but I think you are so right. I've got a somewhat experience for Turkey that I will share soon... I guess it's all about figuring out the cultural nuances. I was lucky in this case that I was pointed to it - the Turkish one, I figured out after a few years :-) When you figure out that wrinkle thing, let me know!

mbngholson said...

Hi!I'm just coming across your blog. I am considering a move to the ME and MUST bring our dog. I'm super worried not above living with him there, but simply the transporting of him in the plane. Any tips or tricks? It absolutely terrifies me.

Pam Durant said...

Dear mbngholson - I apologize that I only am just now seeing this post.. I do not usually post here anymore as I have a site that focuses on photography and I tent to post there more, when I can as well as in my Diabetes advocate blog at When we moved our cats, they flew in the animal area of the plane and it went well. We gave them a little prozac before we left and it was ok. I hope that you are now settled in the ME and your dog was able to fly easily. Best Regards.