BENGALURU: Cats need rescuing too, say members of this group who call themselves the Bangalore Cat Squad.
When feeding bottles are unavailable, one of them feeds kittens by dipping his long beard in a bowl of milk. They have had to climb up trees over 20 feet high to bring cats down.
Though Bangalore Cat Squad was only officially formed in 2015, some of its members have been rescuing cats since decades. Their goal is to help cats that are often neglected more than dogs.
“We now have 25 members including rescuers, writers and social media activists. Our goal is to create a network that allows us to get help faster,” says Vijaya Sitaram, who has 19 cats at her home.
The number changes quite frequently, as the cats are up for adoption.
Max fell on a transformer when he was trying to jump and lost two of his legs. He also lost vision in one eye and an ear. A pregnant cat was saved from a man who was trying to burn her with a cigarette.
“We’ve rescued cats who were poisoned, burnt with acid and used for witchcraft,” says Vijaya, who has been at it since 2008.
On Saturday, they came across a pregnant cat who delivered two kittens and passed away when the third one wouldn’t come out. Vijaya now takes care of the two new-borns.
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy has been rescuing cats for about a decade. The 39-year-old who started the group recalls an incident in Ejipura, where a lot of pets were abandoned after the low income housing was demolished in 2014.
“We caught about a dozen of them and gave them up for adoption,” he says. He fed three-week-old kittens with his beard.
Rescuing cats is challenging as they scratch you with their claws, says Vijaya. “They tend to squirm and get away by jumping on windows, walls and buildings. We use a towel to catch them and immobilise them by holding their neck,” adds Jayaprakash.
Getting them adopted is equally challenging. But these days, more people are interested in adopting cats, according to Jayaprakash. “Young couples, freelancers and people who can’t spare much time for their pets opt for cats, as they don’t need as much attention as dogs. They also make ideal pets as they don’t need to be walked every day,” says Jayaprakash.
Many people prefer kittens as they think the babies will adjust with them easily. But adult cats are equally loving and are already potty-trained, he explains.
Some of Vijaya’s cats got adopted at a drive organised at Cessna on Sunday. “We do a background check on the person before letting them adopt our kittens. We make sure he or she is committed to taking care of the animals. We run their names against the blacklist through which we keep track of individuals who have abused animals before. We also spray and vaccinate the cats before we give them away,” says Vijaya.
The group members also train the person before handing over a cat to them. “We ask the family to avoid sending the cats out as they are prone to worms. They might also get run over by a vehicle or bitten by dogs. We recommend homemade protein and vitamin-rich food,” says Vijaya.