Mowgli’s secret hideaway is found! We had wondered where Mowgli the mongoose was sleeping on nights when he did not return to his pen and a trip to the kitchen in the middle of the night exposed his secret. We knew he visited the kitchen through the cat flap to help himself to the cats crunchie biscuit treats, but didn’t realize he had learned to open the kitchen unit drawers, and was making himself comfortable after his feast, in the drawer of clean tea towels! The staff had noticed the drawer was often open in the morning, and tea towels squashed but no one had put two and two together until John caught him red handed. He now sleeps in the drawer every night and given up sleeping in his pen altogether.
Tilly, the new young female has proved to be very friendly and an expert escape artist too. There doesn’t seem to be a knot she can not undo, and she even managed to convince “Ruby” who was on an adjoining running chain, to take her collar off and let her free. She is easily caught, but “Tilly’s loose” has become a common cry. She should soon be able to join another group in one of the pens, but will undoubtedly turn her skills on to the door catches, and let everyone out! She has now been swimming in the pool which she took to well after a few tentative tries.
The return of our regular volunteer baby sitters has meant I have been able to get to the market to look for dumped animals several times, with the help of Angela, John’s P.A. who is now an excellent ‘spotter’.
Our last trip was unfortunately all too typical and even on the busy approach road we saw a small tortoiseshell kitten dodging through the heavy traffic. Unfortunately by the time we were able to stop we could not find it.
While checking where this one had run to, on the pavement, literally under everyone’s feet, Angela spotted a tiny kitten, looking as if it was dead. It was only about 5 weeks old, the dumper had not even bothered to take her through in to the fish market. Thinking she was probably dead, I tentatively touched her and she immediately sprung to life, calling very loudly and looking for food! We gave her some tinned cat food which she managed to suck happily at. On arrival at the fish sellers, a very pregnant white and black cat, which we tempted and nearly caught with tinned food. Unfortunately the small boys who work in the market tried to help, and as a result of their enthusiasm she ran into an area with no access, but I should be able to get her next time, if I can avoid the ‘help’.
Next, a large ginger/white kitten. Two had been left there last week, one I caught, this one was too wary but today was frail and exhausted so I was able to catch her while she slept. Boys then came to tell us of two more kittens left the day before, one was asleep on a sack and easily picked up, the other dead near by. The one we got had cat flu and a very swollen eye. As we went to return to the car with these, we saw a small bitch, some 5 months old, very thin and quite timid. We managed to get her with the tin food and luckily she was small enough to fit in the big cat box, so Angela took her back to the car. We had also spotted two eight week old brown puppies, obviously very recently dumped as they were still happily playing in the rubbish.
Whilst putting the six successful rescues in the car we spotted yet another kitten which was on the far side of a filthy stream of sewage. The small tabby and white kitten was very thin and dirty and we were pleased that we were able to get some food to it. However as soon as we approached it shot down one of the many rat holes. We will need to return for this one with a cat trap and hope the rats do not eat it before we can catch it. Unfortunately you cannot just put a trap down as it is quickly stolen for scrap and so I will have to sit there with it for possibly hours, when time allows.
All the rescues, with the exception of the tiny tortoiseshell kitten, were taken to the IAR rescue centre. The tiny one was clearly too young for them to cope with and I hoped I could get her feeding by taking her home, and then try and find her a home locally. Although a brave little soul she proved too young to lap, and showed the first signs of cat flu, so regrettably she was euthanized.
This unfortunately is just a typical mornings rescues in an Indian market and doesn’t even cover butchers row, where tethered goats await conversion into “lamb curry” mainly for tourists. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I find the many tourists who are oblivious to all this suffering more than a little grating.
I am pleased to say there is light on the horizon! John is finalising plans to employ a full time member of staff to cover the market. This person will look after the animals dumped in the cages and issue free sterilisation certificates to those bringing in animals. He will also be responsible for collecting animals dumped rather than being put in the cages and we hope the PR work he will be doing will have a dramatic affect on how people view animals. The most important part of his work will undoubtedly to get as many locals as possible to take their animals to IAR for sterilising as this is the only way we will ever get on top of the stray problem and the problem of people dumping unwanted puppies and kittens.