After crossing the first and then waiting for the second to become safe to cross, I saw something moving from the corner of my eye. My first thought was, “Is that a cat? this intersection is too dangerous right now, I should just quickly pick her up and put her on the other side of the road”
But then I saw her, clearly. Her face, for the lack of a better word, was ruined. There was blood, mucus and pus leaking out of her mouth and nose. She was skin and bones, severely dehydrated. Any living being in her state shouldn’t really be up about and crossing roads. I think I bolted without thinking, in hindsight not the best idea, but we reached the other side safely. Reflexes. I sat down with her on the footpath, and that’s when the stench hit me – she had a maggot wound. Where I was with her was poorly lit, pitch black. I couldn’t make out much, but I was a 100% sure she was infested with maggots.
My first instinct was to call Charu, our chairperson. Not because of CCS or TFF. It’s because how closely I work with Charu and the kind of work I do for TFF. I knew that this was the time for a practical decision and not an emotional (me) one. I knew that Charu would be able to make sense of the situation much better than I would at that time. After a chat with Charu, I decided that BSPCA (The Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was close and hence the more practical solution. So I did call the Animal Ambulance to transport. But there was something that made me not so sure about the decision I was making. I really wanted to see with my own eyes if she had a chance at all. I didn’t want to give up on her so easily like how the whole world around her did. So, when Charu did ask me to bring her to TFF, I just did without much hesitation.
So I quickly called up my mum and instructed her to get a carton and a cloth to wrap her in, and bring it to me. When she did come, and as I waited for my Ola, we decided that we would name her Gisselle. The name just somehow seemed to fit her right.
When I reached TFF at around 12:30pm-ish, Charu and Vicky were waiting for Gisselle and I. When we started inspecting her for the first time in proper light we realized a couple of things,
- She was a RTA (Road Traffic Accident) victim
- Her delicate upper pallet had collapsed
- Her mouth- i.e, the cavity that was created by the collapsed pallet was infested with maggots
- She had a ventral hernia
We gave her all the emergency medications and saline to stabilize her for the night. I honestly did not think that she would make it, but I was wishing she would. I think I wanted to hear the verdict from the doctor’s mouth. She did make it through the night, she was there the next day, I was surprised and proud of her the same time. We then took her to the vet we work with closely, almost as soon as the clinic opened.
Two veterinarians checked her as soon as they came to the conclusion that it was impossible to remove the maggots from her mouth as Ivermectin and Chloroform which are used to remove maggots from a wound, are both highly poisonous and would kill her regardless. Mid-checkup she also started getting seizures, which led to us giving her oxygen. Her collapsed pallet, all the blood clot and the maggots were restricting her airway making it extremely hard for her to breath. After an X-ray to make sure we had cleared all bases, we decided that it was for the best to put her down. It wasn’t worth putting her though any more misery.
It was so painful to see her that way. But I can rest knowing that she didn’t die being hit by a car while crossing, with her carcass just rotting with no one to give a damn. That’s what actually hurts me the most. That in this entire thing, people at that intersection would tell me that they saw the accident happen. They saw her helplessly bleed and somehow pick herself up and walk away.
People who witnessed the whole thing and just didn’t seem to give a damn. The accident happened days ago, and what were her odds that there was a random TTF employee somewhere in Mumbai Central who would cross paths with her and try to help her out.
At that moment they looked so concerned for the cat, wanted to give me suggestions and blessings. It was so frustrating, I had so many questions. One being, “Why didn’t you do something earlier then?” and the second, “Would you please stop talking?”.
I think in her better days she must have been a really pretty cat. She had an amazing personality. Even in that weak state, she managed to sit on my lap and ‘make biscuits’: pushing her paws into my legs as if she was kneading dough. She would look at me doe-eyed as if to acknowledge me as a friend or someone trustworthy.
Even if she didn’t, I wouldn’t have minded it. I didn’t even feel like I deserved that affection given how awful humans like me had been to her. In the span of a few hours (no matter how cheesy it sounds) she had my heart. I am just happy that she died with someone who loved and cared about her. With close to no pain and with warm blankets.