Meet Mittens

10:53 AM

In my previous post about rabies, I mentioned that the reason why I went through a week of mayhem was because of a stray cat I picked up.

This little one had been roaming around in our society for weeks, and was quite friendly with the kids playing in the garden. We would see her every now and then doing well for herself. Until Sunday May 11th that is.

That day, Ishita managed to go pet her, and the cat took a liking in her but DH and her came back upstairs without the cat. It didn't stop Ishita to keep asking for her, and me to find myself torn between taking said cat and giving her a better life, or leaving her roam around sparing me the trouble of making a cat and a dog cohabitate (it is possible by the way).

We left it at that and took off to go grocery shopping and upon returning home, there she was, skin on bones, caked in mud and looking like she could use a good meal. Upon seeing us she came forward, Ishita was exited and my heart was like molten snow in the sun. There was no way we could leave this poor little baby cat like this, she had no chances of survival the way she looked. Beside, I know cats, I grew up having them around. I could handle that.

I scooped her up, and as soon as we came home poured her some water with a drop of milk to keep her busy while I found a can of tuna I had in my cupboards. I served her a small portion of said tuna only to find her wolfing it down in minutes and wait for the next teaspoon of it. By then, my dog came in and the cat panicked. Expecting that kind of reaction I held the cat preventing her from running away and triggering my dog to go into a "chase the kitty" game. That is when kitty bit me. Right smack in my left thumb. This was the start of my rabies fright, event I will not go into again, you can read it here.

When an animal you can confine and observe bite you, you need to do so for 10 days, and that was the plan. Again, as per my rabies story, the cat started looking weak and a bit disoriented on Tuesday, which had me run back to hospital myself to demand proper and complete treatment.
In the midst of all that madness we managed to get her to see the vet on Wednesday. This initiated a mini drama in the community.

Some of the kids saw me take the cat all bundled in a towel, and instead of asking me, assumed I was going to get rid of her. They ran to an older girl who had been taking care of her to alarm her before throwing themselves in front of our car shouting at me without even asking me what plan I had.
I informed them that the cat was on rabies watch when they tried to get at her. By then, the older girl came and listend to my story and shut the smaller kids up long enough for her to tell us that the cat has been through some constant abuse by a neighbour who hate cats and at one point even had a broken hind leg that reset itself the wrong way and will be permanently weak. She offered to come with us to the vet as she already took her there twice herself.

The result of that vet visit was that the cat was anaemic, and about 2.5 to 3 months of age. And the change of diet and probably jumping off a bed in my home might have strained her only good hind leg. The prescription was a day of rest in a confined area, vitamins in her food and being kept as an indoor pet forever.
I told the girl that came with us I would be happy to keep her and she was super grateful as none of the pet lovers in the building could. We went home, and told all the kitty happy kids the new and called it a night. This was the day we learned she had been given a name by the kids: Mittens.

A name we are going to keep for her. Giving her plenty of rest ended up being beneficial. She got her energy back in no time, enough for me to breathe a sigh of relief. The kids in my society however had a moment of not being happy. They wanted her down in the garden, and a 9 years old who was already the vocal one on Wednesday told me I had no rights to keep her, that she was a common pet and even yelled at me for not being home when he wanted to see her.
I had to put my foot down and raise my voice a little that morning, as I was rushing out to go complete my botched rabies treatment all the way down to South Mumbai.

By the evening, the older girl put him back into place again and told all the kids that the cat was to no longer be an outdoor animal for her own safety. Repeating what I told the kids in the morning. This had them pipe down and listen to me as well. The interesting thing being that none of the parents of these kids were around or even agreed to take care of the cat the right way. I reminded all the kids to always be careful when handling strays, and to seek prompt medical treatment in the even of a bite just the way I did to myself. And of course added that wanting to take care of strays was a wonderful thing, but that should they not be able to approach a cat or a dog, the wise thing to do was to tell an adult about it.

Adults like me who knows where to turn for help. There are many NGOs taking care of strays across India, some have an ambulance service and can come to the rescue of a wounded animal that cannot be approached by people.

As for Mittens, she is doing well, and is a playful little kitty. She now tolerates the dog in her vicinity without hissing, and only give a small hiss should my dog dare trying to sniff in her direction.
There are strong hope of her doing just fine with her canine roomie in the long run. She is constantly trying to sneak in the flower beds past my balcony, which is pretty much my only concern at the moment. We might have to install some nets if she continues wanting to go there. I have no doubt that as she grows she will be ok should she get into them, but right now being a tiny thing with only one strong leg to jump, her hiding there is not a good idea at all.
She knows it is forbidden and already demonstrated some feline smartness trying to sneak past me. Too bad for her, I know cats a bit too well to really fall for her tricks. All in all, I am kept very busy with the new addition to our household.

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  1. apple1:06 PM

    Your animal love is commendable. Cats are far more unpredictable than dogs. First you had a dog then a cat. Has Nishita being immunazied with the rabies vaccine? I would be very uncomfortable having a small kid and a pet in the same house, even if they are playful, they are animals. Animals are unpredictable even if they are domesticated. Dogs often jumps on guests, sniffing and playfully biting them. It is may be their idea of saying "hello", but it is terrifying experince for the guest. The same goes for unsuspecting people on roads/parks.The fact is that for a dog owner it is not a probem but for others is a major inconvenience.
    One playful bite and you go scurrying to the doctor. It looks very cute when kids in advertisements bring a stray animal to home. In reality it is extremely dangerous. We often feed dogs and cats but never think about bringing them home. Feed animals, care for them, but keep them at arms length. Your post on Rabies have further confirmed by fears.

  2. Yes Ishita is getting immunised, DH as well. Animals can be dangerous if you aren't prepared indeed, and as a pet owner you need to be constantly on top of things. I think this isn't yet a problem in India, but in Europe there is a sad problem of people buying a puppy or a kitten around Christmas for their kids because you know, they are so cute looking, and by July when the school vacations typically start over there parents realise that the dog or cat are going to need some care they haven't anticipated and abandon the pet on the side of the highway. Having a pet, any pet is a huge responsibility, but if one is prepared for it, and agree to the work they give you, pets can give you and your family a lot in exchange, and not only love and affection, but a sense of responsibility, a better understanding of animals, a sense of respect. But definitely not the thing anybody should or can do :-)

  3. Dogs have a keen sense of all the individuals in the family. They feel sad and happiness just like humans. I guess keeping a pet is just like parenthood, you are either prepared for it or not.
    Talking about stray animals, there are not much these days in Delhi. I remember there were lots of sparrows in Delhi. They used to make their nests above the ceiling fan. Death of sparrows by ceiling fan was a common occurance those days. I have not seen a crow, pigeon etc. for many years. The same goes for eagles which used to hover during lunchtime on our school playground picking up food. About cows, I have seen cows giving birth to calfs in our neighbourhood and who can forget the majectic bulls roaming around. There were lots and lots of animals during that time.
    Few days after my mother death, the offering of rice balls is made to cows/crows as it is believed that the departed souls takes the form of a animal and accepts the offering. On one day we were able to find a cow after lot of hard work but on another day we couldn't. Finally, we kept the food near a cow shed in the hope that some cow would eat it. It is on these religious occassions when we miss cows. Eitherway, since we were so used to seeing cows on streets, we kind of miss their absolute absence from our lives. They are part of our childhood memories.

  4. Sparrows were almost completely absent in Bangalore too, but I still see them here in Mumbai, along with parrots, and of course pigeon, which apparently are becoming a bit of a menace in the city. I have seen eagles and kite in the neighbourhood too, but I am in a still fairly green area of Mumbai which could explain things. Just a few cows around though, which I. This mad traffic, and pollution is a good thing too they deserve to get proper living quarters and food. There is a cow and buffalo she'd not too far from my place, which could explain things. The disappearance of birds and animal in cities should be a warning sign that we are spoiling the planet too.

  5. She's so cute. We rescued a stray in poor condition not too long back and it has been such a rewarding experience. Nursing the cat back to health and watching her become happy having a home has been such a blessing. I know you must be feeling the same. To be able to save a life is quite an experience. Plus kitties are just so lovable and sweet.

  6. It is indeed a very rewarding experience. I keep thinking the cat came to us for a reason too. Ishita is in love with that fur all and is constantly petting and playing with her. So much so that she isn't even asking to watch TV as much as before.

  7. That's fantastic! It's good she has found something to occupy her time and use up some energy.


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