9-15 June 2017 #862

Cat man do

A care home to take care of abandoned newly-born kitten, injured and diseased cats from the streets and rehome them
Pema S Lama

Pics: Kunda Dixit
HELLO KITTY: Neha Dangol (above) takes care of 12 abandoned cats at the Catmandu Lovers shelter in Patan which she runs with Norfaizah Ramli (below) seen with Ukus and Mukus, rescued from the streets and now adopted by a Kathmandu family.

Visitors to Nepal have often wondered why there are no cats in Kathmandu. There are dogs all over the place, but hardly any cats. In fact the cats you hear the most about in Kathmandu are the leopards that frequently stray into the city, and have to be darted and relocated back to Shivapuri National Park.

“Actually there are lots of cats in Kathmandu, but you don’t see them because they are all hiding from the dogs,” explains Norfaizah Ramli, a Singaporean married to a Nepali who has been living in Kathmandu for 14 years. “Dogs are worshipped once a year, but there is a superstition that cats are inauspicious.” 

While canine is divine, there is no such veneration for felines. Kathmandu has many organisations working with stray dogs, but few that look after cats. Which is why Norfaizah Ramli (‘Richi’) decided to set up her own care home two years ago called Catmandu Lovers.

“I loved cats, I grew up with them, my grandmother, cousins and aunts all had cats,” says Richi, who pulled out five cats from the animal care she was volunteering in and set up Catmandu Lovers to take care of abandoned newly-born kitten, injured and diseased cats from the streets and rehome them. 

The fact that cats can give birth four times a year and have eight kittens in each litter, means there are lots of abandoned kitten and not enough animal centres specialising in feline care. 

Ash (left and centre) was rescued at a few days old, eyes still closed. She is now a month old and has been adopted. Messi (below, right) is three and used to be scared of people because of mistreatment. He is still shy, and is up for adoption by an experienced cat owner.

Catmandu Lovers is a home-based care centre that gives personalised attention to abandoned, seriously-malnourished as well as sickly and injured kitten.

“We are not an animal shelter, and we believe that kitten adjust better and injured cats heal faster in a family environment rather than in cages at a shelter,” says Richi who runs an adoption centre in Pulchok and a treatment facility in Bhaisepati together with her friend, Neha Dangol.

In a penthouse apartment eight-stories above Patan with a stunning view of the Valley, Dangol looks after 12 mostly short-haired tabbies, Bengals and Abyssinians waiting for adoption, as well as three of her own pets. She says: “I grew up loving animals, but after I met Richi I developed a fondness for cats, and I also saw that they need help.”

When the cats are ready for adoption, Dangol spreads the information through Facebook and can usually place pets almost immediately. “We are blessed because we have a 100% adoption rate, even from families that have never had cats before,” says Richi. 

Catmandu Lovers runs on personal contributions from adopters, supporters and rescuers. It also runs a Cat Hotel for people to board pets when they travel. Income pays for vet care and cat food for the 60 or so cats it takes care of every year.

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