Monday, April 24, 2017

Rescuing a cat...

It was a week-long story.
Cats getting stuck on big trees, high buildings, chimneys, and other such places that fascinate the feline creature, is a world-wide common phenomenon. First time, I was part of one such story.
We returned home after spending 4-5 days in Delhi, on the evening of 14th April. The first thing we noticed was the howling of a cat in the vicinity. Two days passed with intermittent crying. On every cry, we expressed our concern to each other, but we could not reckon the helplessness in the sound.
Eventually, we realised that the howling was not any ordinary mewing of a cat but was definitely a desperate SOS call. The Sherlock Holmes in us squirmed and we started our silent investigation.
The building we live in is three-storeyed with 12 flats. Adjacent to it, is the other block with similar set up. In total, we have 24 apartments in Block A and B. Out of these 24 flats, at least 10 were locked as its inmates were out.
The first challenge before us was to zero in as to which flats she has got stuck in. The search began. We mewed and she responded. We stood in front of every flat with our ears stuck to the locked doors. We made efforts to find out where she was locked in.
The neighbours looked at us weirdly. Their loud expressions cried hoarse that we were mad. Luckily, that did not deter us. We had our discovery of the day.
On the sixth day, we found that the poor creature was got locked in the balcony of the flat just below us.
We asked the caretaker to open the doors of that flat. Reluctantly enough, he opened the door. What happened next was expected. The hungry and irritated cat was so scared that she hid herself in the hole that contains all drain pipes.
The caretaker was not in a mood to wait outside and give the cat anytime to calm down and come out. He waited for 5 minutes by the clock and insisted that he had to lock the flat again. Our requests amused him as he refused to understand why a wild and stray cat can be so important for anyone.
At least we succeeded in motivating the man, who obviously had no compassion for animals, to leave open the doors of the grilled cage that secures the balcony.
Now, the cat was just below us. The doors of our balcony, and the balcony below us, were wide open. We could see the helpless cat, as she stepped out of the hiding minutes later the front door was locked again.
We started sending her comforting sounds, as many as we could make.
Our biggest concern was the wellbeing of the animal. Six days, or maybe more, without food or water, in scorching heat, was a serious issue.
This concern was motivating enough to make us think. We tied a small basket with a rope and put some milk in a bowl inside, and lowered the basket in the balcony below. We placed an aluminium foil in the basket the sound of which confirmed that the cat was eating the food. The basket carried water, then tinned Tuna and then some more milk and two days we kept feeding the poor creature.
Nevertheless, we needed to free the cat.
We forced the caretaker to open the doors of the flat again so that she can come out. They opened the door but stood there like police and once again the cat did not come out. She again locked herself midst drains.
The attitude of the caretaker was worse this time. He was a bit annoyed as we disturbed his siesta (of course, during duty hours). He appeared irritated and without even waiting for our advice, he announced that he was going to lock the door.
We were disappointed but we did not give up.    
Now we were sure that the onus of saving her life was on us.We racked our brain, and eureka, the bulb of idea gave us light.
The door of the balcony cage just below us proved to be a window of opportunity.
This time we used a bigger basket and kept the food inside making sure that she had to sit inside the basket, to eat.
The moment she sat in the basket, we pulled it up.
Coming to our balcony was freedom which made the cat's rescue calls to an angry growl. She jumped on walls, over the washing machine, banged her head to the door. We quietly closed the balcony door leaving her there to acclimatise with this free but strange world.
She did not take much time in calming down.
We opened the balcony door and our front door and she zipped outside. Having gained energy with milk and Tuna, the cat jumped from the second floor to the ground and found a safe hiding under a car.
We quietly gave her food there so that she is safe and strong and thus free to mew around. We were happy that she is free but also sad as she had become the centre of our attention for last one week.
Now, I am sure we will miss her and look for her and wait to see her again, roaming free and healthy.

These photos are only symbolic