Saturday, November 22, 2014

Where the Cat is boss!


Neglect, irresponsible pet ownership and intentional cruelty are some of the leading factors contributing to the explosion of stray cats in poor health in and around Gangtok. The SARAH [Sikkim Anti-Rabies and Animal Health programme] Hospital in Gangtok is treating up to three abandoned cats every week. Some are injured and in need of intensive medical care while some are in the “last stages of neglect.” Examples of neglect include starvation, dehydration, inadequate shelter, parasite infestations and failure to seek veterinary care when an animal is in need of medical attention. SARAH routinely sterilizes pet cats as well as strays and more than 1000 felines have been nurtured by the hospital in the past few years.
With the support from Foundation Brigitte Bardot, a French organization, SARAH has built a first of its kind cattery and sanctuary for stray cats in the state at its facility in Gangtok. This is also probably the first such “Cat Hospital” in the region. A visit comes as a pleasant surprise to find Gangtok’s strays being pampered so lovingly. The cattery is as well appointed as a nursery for babies!
“It is observed that people tend to abandon female kittens and also black cats. And then there are the old, sick and injured cats that are also dumped in the market and at monasteries. It is the wrong thing to do,” states Dr. Thinlay N Bhutia, Project Coordinator, SARAH.
He adds that cats, like every other animal, have a very important role in balancing the eco-system and are one of the most important barriers against outbreak of diseases such as plague and leptospirosis.
“Cats are also very intelligent animals. There is a lot of stigma attached to cats but infact they are a great asset to any family. Cats are independent and are easier to manage than other pets like dogs. Despite that we see inhumane, cruel and barbaric ways in which these cats have been treated,” informs Dr. Thinlay.
The Cattery is housing and treating over 12 cats at present, a majority of whom have been under great stress and are psychologically disturbed. There are cats here at the hospital that have been blinded intentionally or have suffered massive abuse! Cats that have survived being run-over by speeding vehicles and are amputees also make a sizable number at the sanctuary.
Speaking on the fundamentals of the animal needs and the “Cat hospital” design, Dr. Thinlay states that the animals contained in a hospital, are entirely dependent upon humans to provide the conditions that will satisfy their basic needs. It is therefore important that anyone looking after animals is aware of all their needs. It must address basic animal needs such as freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition; provision of appropriate comfort and shelter; prevention, or rapid diagnosis and treatment, of injury, disease or infestation with parasites; freedom from distress and the ability to display normal patterns of behaviour.
“Our society is built upon human values of compassion, mutual respect, respect for the nature and co-existence with all the creations of nature. There is a need to foster loving kindness, compassion. We must feel the pain and suffering that the animals undergo, only then will the people, especially growing children realize and foster similar feelings of love, compassion and a sense of responsibility,” states Dr. Thinlay.
Sharing a few tips on responsible cat ownership, the SARAH Project Coordinator explains that cats are highly independent pet animals and one of the newest domesticated animals and a pet owner should know their pets need regular Fe3 and other Vaccinations. “Fe3 when 6-8 weeks old, booster at 12 weeks, Rabies at 14weeks, second booster of Fe3 at 16 weeks. Then Fe3 & Rabies Annually and make sure your cat gets regular deworming tablets [at 4 weeks old, 6 weeks, 8 weeks,12 weeks, 16 weeks then 3 monthly],” he explains.
While adding that cats can get bored easily, it is highly recommended to get them some toys to play since they have wild instinct and love to predate on birds. Further, the doctor also recommends getting the cats a collar with a bell. Similarly, he adds that cats like to sharpen their nails for which owners should get them a scratching post. It is also suggested that cat owners give regular grooming and provide litter trays if they are indoor cats.
He also states that animal housing areas, whether for single or group housing, must provide at least enough space for each animal held to feed, sleep, sit, stand, lie with limbs extended, stretch and move about.
“Cats are amongst the most fertile animals and can produce multiple litters in a year. Over population can have a negative impact on the ecology. In fact, study states that cats don’t really need to or want to have kittens so please get them de-sexed (neutered) at 5 -6months of age,” states the doctor.
It may also be informed that all the cats at the Cat hospital can be adopted by families who want to do so. The hospital has already given about a 100 cats to adoption since it started. The cats undergo care and management at the sanctuary and are also domesticated in the process.
“Cats are considered as highly valuable pet animals and can prove to be an asset to any family. It will further teach them a good moral values and ethics and these are the qualities of a good citizen. Then peace, happiness and tranquility will prevail and these are the cornerstones of state development and progress,” believes Dr. Thinlay.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Readers are invited to comment on, criticise, run down, even appreciate if they like something in this blog. Comments carrying abusive/ indecorous language and personal attacks, except when against the people working on this blog, will be deleted. It will be exciting for all to enjoy some earnest debates on this blog...