Animal lover with 50 cats and 30 horses to open Airbnb ranch in Abu Dhabi

A woman who cares for more than 50 rescued cats and 30 horses in Abu Dhabi wants to open an Airbnb for animal lovers.

Yasmine Sayyedwho has lived in the United Arab Emirates since 2004, found a large villa in Al-Falah which will house all of her rescued cats, with room for guests, who will be welcome to pet the animals and care for them during their stay.

Over the past six years, Ms Sayyed’s team cats lived with her in a small shack on the land of a friend’s property in Al Shalila, near Al Rabah.

But the site is now being revamped, forcing it to move on.

She hopes the new villa can be converted into a non-profit Airbnb.

“We want to continue to help animals. Sometimes people call me to get a pet goat or a pet sheep. And I can’t facilitate that right now,” said Ms Sayyed, 47, who is half-Greek, half-Palestinian and grew up in Germany.

“The place I found has a lot of rooms. The goal would be to offer Airbnb for animal lovers. Cats that don’t get enough love from me will get more love from people who stay there.

“I could make it four rooms to rent out and maybe a meditation and yoga room. So we could do something that would make people feel good so we could help people and animals.

She hopes the company will help cover the cost of keeping her cats, who eat Dh400 ($108) worth of food every day. She accepts food donations but still struggles to make ends meet.

“A lot of them are fluffy,” she said. “We cannot give them cheap food. There are many cats that have liver and kidney problems.

Ms. Sayyed also directs Ride to the rescuea company that rescues and rehabilitates horses in the United Arab Emirates, generating income through children’s summer camps, riding lessons and beach walks. But there is always a shortfall, she says.

She has 34 horses under her belt, only some of which can be ridden. Most of them are housed in stables at the Mandara Equestrian Club near Shahama, but she plans to move some to other stables within the year to save money.

“We spend more than Dh120,000 every month to house and feed the horses,” she said.

“We can’t cover that through our rides. We are always less, less, less.

“Last night a horse had colic and I was thinking of taking him to the hospital. But taking him to the hospital means maybe 30,000 or 40,000 Dh.

“We would like to earn some money but it is not so easy with so many animals not working. But I believe that if people do adoptions and come to ride bikes, it can work.

She hopes that one day she will be able to persuade businesses and individuals to sponsor Ride to Rescue to secure her future.

“If we had four or five businesses, that would be a big relief,” she said.

“If people want to visit us, adopt the cats [it would help]. Horse adoption means they can decide how much to pay. But the horse remains in our care.

“We can work out a time when they can come and take care of them. And if they have small children, they may be able to come and ride them.

Ride to Rescue will be hosting an open house at Mandara Stables on June 18th. Contact the company on 0564819410 for more information.

Updated: 09 June 2022, 06:02

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