What lovely people!
Thanks to cities.expressindia.com for this uplifting story.
Of cats, dogs and a benevolent family
For the Banerjees, taking care of stray cats and dogs is more than just a pastime. The family raises its voice every time a stray is ill-treated by neighbours or strangers. Our correspondent meets the family
While Putu was lazing inside a small mosquito net, Minky was busy playing with her three 20-days old kittens. Tired of playing all by herself, Putu tried to grab Minkys attention by tugging at one of the sides of the mosquito net. Just when the feline game was getting really amusing the clock struck 12 noon and Rupa Banerjee announced Lunch time.”
With the announcement, a spectacle followed. Putu almost tore out of the net. Minky tumbled out of her kittens basket and rushed to the next room. When we peeked into the next room, this is the sight that greeted us. Rupa was sitting at one corner with a big bowl of boiled rice and another bowl of boiled fish. Surrounding her were cats and dogs of different colours. However, while Putu and Minky looked familiar, the other 20-odd animals were strays, Rupa informed us.
This has been the daily ritual in the Banerjee household for the last 15 years. The Banerjees not only feed the stray cats and dogs, they also care for them. For the family comprising Utpal Banerjee, a civil engineer, his brother Ucchal and sister Rupa this is not just a hobby.
They take this work seriously. Starting from sterilising the cats and dogs and spending money for their vaccination, the family also raises a voice if a stray is being ill-treated by neighbours or anybody on the road.
Every morning I go to the market to buy fish for the animals which is their staple at noon and night. For tiffin, they have milk and biscuits. We sometimes bring home injured cats, kittens and dogs and provide them medication. Rupa, my sister, takes care of the cats who have preferred to stay back with us after getting cured,” said Utpal. So strong is the love for the felines and the canines that even their mother and aunt cant shy away from it. My mother cooks for them everyday. My aunt is old but she is of help too,” he added.
The humanitarian trait has been inherited. We used to see our grandmother feed cats and dogs and from then on I thought that there is need to care for these creatures.
One day I saw a kitten being beaten up by some boys. I cradled her in my arms and brought her home. I named her Putu. Ive raised her by feeding her milk in a feeding bottle. She is fine now and stays with us. Minky gave birth to three kittens a few days ago. Last year when I was going to the market, I saw some boys pelting stones at her. I chided them and saved Minky,” said Rupa. While Putu and Minky are part of the family, cats and dogs from the neighbourhood flock to the Banerjee household at mealtime.
The philanthropic trio is dead against cruelty to animals. We complain to the police if we see any kind of cruelty being meted out to the neighbourhood cats and dogs or for that matter to any other animal. We have even registered ourselves as an NGO, Live n Let Live, so that the police and other organisations recognise our work. We are also getting some donations to carry on this work. We are hopeful that more people will come forward to help us because we do not want to stop what we are doing for the lack of funds,” said Banerjee.
Rupa is all affection for the animals. She has fondly given names like Sundari, Tingting, Chimpu, Lattu and Shimul to the cats and dogs. The number of cats is more than the number of dogs. We also have a pet crow. The dogs keep guard at night so that no miscreants can prowl in the neighbourhood,” said Rupa.
Through their work, the Banerjees have earned quite a reputation for themselves. Many people leave their injured cats, dogs and other pets in front of our door. They know that we will definitely take care of the animals and do not grudge the owners at all because for us, these animals are like family. Loving them and caring for them will only make us more happy,” quipped the benevolent trio.