November 2011: Save India's cats from being trapped and eaten!
Dear friends and supporters:
We don't always think about where common phrases come from, but unfortunately we know now that "letting the cat out of the bag" is based on a real practice. Read more below and please also scroll down for our matching fund appeal.
You may remember our activities to fundraise and rescue the cats in our area of Visakhapatnam. There are too many parts of India where cats are misunderstood and shunned.
They are rarely adopted and many people are superstitious about them. Primarily it is because most Indians have not had a chance to learn and appreciate how cats can make such wonderful companions.
The good news is that we have almost finished construction of our third cat shelter. It will be painted soon and open to receive the newest refugees from the mean Indian streets, so a total of 300 cats will be able to enjoy a good life here in several small buildings with all the comforts and outdoor area as well for the cats, rather than facing almost certain death outside.
However, we are sorry to report that the criminal activities of the cat-eaters are on the rise again. This is not only in our city but in many other places in India. We recently received this letter from a distraught cat guardian:
Cat/Kitten hunters are on prowl in Vishakapatnam, they catch cats/kittens from residential area just to eat them as food! Recently I had been away and on my return I found my pet cats were missing. On enquiry my neighbours told me that my cat/kitten hunters have taken away along with other stray cats. I felt very strange upon hearing this and of course very painful in my heart for my pets. Nothing I can do except lament in silence for them and look for some organization who can take action.
Can you people who care for pet animals stop or prevent this kind of practice and take on the hunters? I don't have any idea about the laws, only hope from you people.
In Visakhapatnam, this is how the cat killers operate:
- Cats are lassoed with a stick and wire and then suffocated with plastic bags.
- The dead cat is then burned on a fire - the head and all - then skinned, cut-up, and eaten with rice.
- These people eat cat meat because of the myth that it is good for their bones, and alleviates arthritis and joint pains.
What can we do other than try to keep saving these cats, along with providing education and humane awareness to these people? We cannot put cats back to the street after sterilization as the cat killers are still on the prowl!
The same is not applicable to street dogs because there is a specific Dog Rule to prevent any such violations; the cats have no such legal protection and worse still, most people consider cats a bad omen.
These are tribal people who have their own laws; with no legal recourse we must continue to educate them and build our own efforts to offer them alternative employment and teach humane awareness.
Our teams need your support - raiding the cat killers' "bags" of cats to liberate them, and of course we need support to help our existing cat refugees with food and maintenance. Slowly and surely times will change here, but we cannot risk the lives our existing cats while we wait. If you come to India and do not see so many cats on the streets, now you sadly know one of the reasons why. Help us change this situation - at least here in Vasakhapatnam!
As a special holiday appeal, Help Animals India, the USA based charity that fundraises for VSPCA and accepts USA tax deductible donations on their behalf, is doing a Matching Fund for any contributions received before the year's end for the cats of Visakhapatnam. Your donations will be matched up to a total of $2500 – please can you donate $10, $20 or more? We hope to raise $2500 and then it will be doubled by Help Animals India to a total of $5000 to make a life changing difference. Please help us bring a lasting legacy of support and protection for our area's cats.
Thank you so much,
Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals
P.S. – Sponsor an animal today for a friend or loved one and we'll send them a personal acknowledgment, along with a lovely holiday card. Sponsorships of 6 months or more will also get an acknowledgment on our website. Your generous sponsorship will go directly to caring for an individual animal in our sanctuary!