Caturday felids: The cats of India (and Leon lagniappe)

January 24, 2015 • 7:11 am

Sadly, most of the cats of India have no owners: they are bedraggled, flea-ridden beasts whose lives are short and brutal. They wander the streets, ribs visible, looking for rats or any kind of nom. They broke my heart, but I love them all.  And the fortunate few have found forever homes. Here are some snaps I took of cats or cat-related items in India.

Cats down by the Ganges, Kolkata (Calcutta). They were in relatively good shape as people were giving them fish. But one kitten. . . .well, I won’t talk about it:


Mother and kitten:


These lucky moggies didn’t have to scrounge, as some kind soul was giving them fish.


My hosts have a flat in Kolkata in an apartment surrounded by a high wall. Within it are several cats and kittens who are fed by some of the residents and by the watchman. They are relatively well off compared to most feral cats in India, but they still scrounge for noms. This kitten made a heroic climb to the trashbin:




Not a real cat! (I have to say this because some cats in India resemble this.) This is an sculpture of some sort outside the art department at the university in Santiniketan.


This is Puchku, a lively little girl (“puchku” means “little one”) owned by Mr. Krishno Dey, who runs a wonderful homestay (rated #1 by Tripadvisor) in Santineketan. We arranged to have lunch there, and it was a spectacular feed (pictures of the noms later). Afterwards we had a constitutional around the grounds and Putchku followed us.  She was wary, and the only person she’d let pet her was Mr. Dey:




As you can see, there was a dearth of cats. There are many more dogs than cats roaming around in India, perhaps because the cats have shorter lives or are simply less visible.

What all cats aspire to be: a tiger, Khajuraho temple:


Lagniappe: A Leon monologue! Here’s Leon, the Polish tabby owned by Elzbieta, taking his first walk as a kitten. He wears a harness because her previous cat, allowed to roam free, disappeared, and they won’t let that happen again. Leon is going for a hike in the mountains this weekend, and will wear his harness as well as sitting in a special “kangaroo pouch” that his staff carries for when he gets tired.  (This reminds me of Baihu’s walks.)

The caption: “Learning to know the world is quite tiresome.”



Here he is last week practicing for the Big Hike. Caption: “I’m patiently learning how to be a kangoroo during mountain walks.”


17 thoughts on “Caturday felids: The cats of India (and Leon lagniappe)

  1. It is so disheartening to witness sick, uncared for animals. The many homeless cats and dogs would be very hard to witness.

    I like Leon’s hiking set up. I always wondered why people who had cats were content to let them roam free; don’t they fret over their cat?

    1. We do if we don’t get them in at night. Cats are generally good at orientating themselves, so the danger is if you move and don’t keep your cats indoors for a few weeks so that they can get to see it as their territory. Otherwise they might get lost. Cats can be very obnoxious; our ginger one forces the cat flap open when he wants to get out!

      1. I have two close friends with cats who had that same experience. They moved, let their cat out, and they did not (could not) find their way back. One eventually turned up after a few weeks. Although rather emaciated it recovered. The other never came back.

        1. That happens when the cat doesn’t get used to it as their home. They become frightened and get lost. We had a cat that escaped from my window at night but she came back at 5am in the morning as she was used to the place as her home.

      2. I would worry about predation by both coyotes, raptors and cars. Many a time, I’ve avoided a kitteh while driving home on a country road in the evening – one even appeared to be a bengal so I was surprised someone would let a cat roam like that. Could be he charged out too though as he appeared to be on a mission and darted in front of my car. Thankfully, I was able to miss him.

        1. I live in a country which thankfully doesn’t have coyotes. While we are in the city we don’t let our cats out of the apartment because of cars, but we do when we are in our home in the countryside.

  2. As that second photo of Leon shows, you don’t need any special equipment to carry a cat; shoulders work fine. At most, if you’re worried about scratches on your shoulders or pinholes in the shoulders of your shirt, you might want some variation on the shoulder pad theme. A knapsack or Camelbak or some other variation on the theme might be appreciated as something of an extended platform, but I wouldn’t bother with one unless you were going to use it anyway.

    India is such a wealthy country…and I wish that wealth were spread out amongst many fewer people. Universal free no-questions-asked birth control would do such wonders for future generations. And consider the future for the rest of the world…even if the planet could support such population densities, as many anti-Malthusians claim, to what end? So billions more can live in such poverty that they can’t even properly care for their feline overlords?


        1. I see. I was thinking more along the 1% lines, not population control. (Despite all the context you provided!)

    1. So billions more can live in such poverty that they can’t even properly care for their feline overlords?

      All the more Soyent Green for the new primate overlords.

  3. I’m sad for the homeless kitties but they sure afforded PCC with great photo-ops. Really nice compositions and color & texture contrasts in those photos, Jerry!

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