NGO finds it hard to bell these cats

Says sprawling campus, fear of disease and cash crunch are all hindering its workers in sterilising more than 60 cats on Sewri TB Hospital's premises

Patients at the civic-run Sewri TB Hospital can now heave a sigh of relief, as the burgeoning feline population that had been bothering them is currently being subjected to sterilisation. According to Animal Matters to Me (AMTM), an NGO that has received funds for sterilising 25 cats, only 10 remain to be sterilised. However, if its members are to be believed, then this reprieve is temporary, as the number of felines prowling on the hospital's premises is over 60. Besides, the volunteers stated that owing to the huge campus, they are finding it difficult to trace and catch the cats.

Cat menace: Volunteers of the NGO with caged cats on the premises
of Sewri TB Hospital

Earlier, MiD DAY had exposed ('45 cats vs 850 weak TB patients', Nov 23) the deplorable condition of the TB patients at the hospital, who are being forced to put up a brave fight against the swelling cat population on the facility's premises. Besides, even the hospital staff has complained about cats sleeping in the wards, leaping onto the beds, and pouncing on the food meant for patients.

'We need more'
"This being a TB hospital, very few volunteers come forward, as there is a fear of contracting the dreaded tuberculosis. We gave masks to those who helped us in catching the cats, and in sterilising them," said Ganesh Nayak from AMTM. He added that they could try and sterilise the entire feline population, provided they get funds. "Being an NGO, we do get volunteers, but to get sterilisation done, we need more donors. The cost of sterilising one cat is around Rs 1,000," he added.

According to animal activists, sterilisation will bring down the reproduction rate by at least 90 per cent, ultimately reducing the menace and discomfort faced by patients.

Too many cats
Dr Rajendra Nanavare, medical superintendent of the hospital, said, "There are too many cats in the hospital. We have already put up a proposal to fix grills in the wards. These cats visit the hospital only during the patients' eating hours. We hope that the sterilisation will bring down their population."

Moreover, the hospital cannot even displace these cats because as per the animal birth control rules, after sterilisation stray animals must be restored to the spot that they were picked up from.

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