Despite the title, this will not be a bitchy/catty post.
For the past month, a cat (female, as will be evident) gave birth to kittens in my home’s attic.
It was slightly disturbing at first. I’m not an animal person at all, and although I don’t wish any animal harm, I’m not particularly keen on being very near animals with claws and teeth either.
We called an animal organisation in Bangalore. And were told that “Please keep the kittens with you for 3 weeks to give them a chance to survive.”
Excuse me? Keep strays in our house? For a chance to survive? For what? They’re STRAYS = no one wants them. And you being sanctimonious at me doesn’t help either.
Fine. Let’s forget me. My parents thought, “Aw. So sad. Let it be.”
And it began.
Five weeks of the cat bringing dead rats in thrice a day, a stench that almost enveloped the entire house, raids on the kitchen by mama cat leading to a LOT of milk being stolen or thrown away, continuous mewling from the kittens – and the crowning touch – fleas and mites.
My feet and my mother’s feet are a mess. We have quite a few bites and wounds now from the incessant scratching. And a doctor’s bill of Rs 500 to pay, for our newly-discovered cat allergy.
Phone calls to animal welfare organisations lead to us getting lectures of “Why don’t you adopt the cat?” (EXCUSE ME? ADOPT A STRAY CAT? HEALTH ISSUES ASIDE, WHAT’S THE POINT? I CAN’T EVEN PET MY BLOODY PET!) bureaucratic chains of phone calls (“You’ve called the Dog section. We don’t do cattery here.”) and more lectures of “You should keep the kittens for at least two months, to give them a chance to survive, else it’s just cruel.”
It was amusing at first, and then it became tiresome. As the stench grew worse, and the cat turned feral, so much so that we couldn’t go up to our own terrace, or leave a room without shutting the door behind us because the cat kept sliding in there and not coming out and snarling at us if we tried to come in, we tried to figure out what the hell to do.
Finally, we managed to get through to one animal organisation that agreed to come get the cat and its three kittens – for a thousand and five hundred rupees. ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED. We were desperate enough to agree. And then?? The finishing touch. “Modom, we can only come in three days. It takes time. Also, you have to pay the driver separately.”
Seriously, animal welfare organisations, are you kidding me? Are you out of your collective animal-mad minds? You were (supposedly) started to help animals. And this is how you do it? By extorting the public in the name of compassion?
You’re giving me sanctimonious lectures about giving the animals a chance – when by acting like this you’re actually endangering the same animals.YOU might be oh-so-devoted to animals and compassionate and aim towards action, but seriously, the general public is not like that. Especially not when confronted with a mangy, flea-ridden, snarling mama cat.
This morning, we woke up to find a rat’s mangled body on the stairs, near a room my family considers sacred to God.
Within an hour, as soon as mama cat had gone a-hunting, my mama swung into action.
An old wizened watchmen with the hardiness of old teak and our maid were pressed into service. Within 40 minutes, the three kittens were brought out, almost screaming, and deposited some distance away from the house.
Mama cat came back a few hours later – oddly enough the first time she’d ever left her kittens for that long. And is piteously miaowing for her kittens, dead rat in mouth.
She’s being shooed away repeatedly as I type.
It’s sad. It might seem heartless. It probably is. But you know what? We kept them for 5 weeks and didn’t do anything despite all the milk-stealing and noise. But how in heaven’s name are we supposed to tolerate the itching, the scratching, the calamine-ing and the rocketing expense associated with cats that are not even ours?
I still think that if any of the organisations had moved their collective greedy asses five weeks ago, this would not have happened.