The proliferation of stray cats in Doha is giving residents, especially those who own vehicles, a lot to worry about. Some individuals who live in “cat-infested” areas such as Najma and Mansoura have complained of their cars’ paint being damaged by the movement of cats on them. Scratches and paw marks, left behind by cats, are often seen on the body of a car. Cats, it seems, are also the cause of engine troubles. They somehow get inside the car’s engine compartment and are either unable to move from there or end up damaging vital parts, say residents. “The damage may be covered by the vehicle’s INSURANCE Still, it would take time to finish the repainting and that means I have to rent a vehicle and pay QR75 or more per day,” said a Filipino expatriate who owns an SUV. Some residents had to shell out hundreds of riyals for engine repairs at SERVICE centres or buy new spare parts to replace the damaged ones. Vehicles parked in basements are not spared either, according to an engineer who owns a sedan. He said he used to see only one cat on top of his car about a month ago. But now, he could sometimes find two or more felines, which prompted him to buy a cover. “I thought that parking my car in the basement would save me from the headache and worry caused by these animals,” he stressed. Cyclist Ben Keane observed that stray cats have become the subject of complaints of many residents and efforts to control their numbers do not seem adequate. “It has been like that for some time,” he added. Stray cats are also often seen scattering waste from trash bins, leading to the spread of a foul smell in the area. Some expatriates said they are often taken by surprise - and not in a pleasant way - when a cat suddenly emerges from the trash bin as they throw their garbage into it. “After stepping on the waste, they will go on top of your newly-washed car and leave their footprints on the windshield, roof, hood and trunk,” said a long-time expatriate in Qatar. Last year, a number of animal volunteer groups and veterinary clinics in Doha had stepped up efforts to catch and neuter cats on the road, aiming to reduce the number of stray animals in the country. Many residents would like to see the initiative being carried out regularly. Some organisations have launched efforts to rescue both dogs and cats and take them to shelters. “This way, we can prevent them from loitering and causing problems. At the same time, they are protected from being run over by vehicles,” said one rescue volunteer.