Mumbai’s Oldest and Most Heavily Guarded Cat

by Rudolph.A.Furtado

Mumbai’s oldest and most heavily guarded cat lives at American Library (American Centre) at Marine Lines in Mumbai.

This was a long pending article that I avoided writing since I am not allowed to photograph this old female mowgy cat and portray it on the site for viewers.

This tabby cat has been living at the “American Centre library” premises in Mumbai, a pet of the “American Centre”, a heavily guarded and protected area of Mumbai. I have been a regular visitor to the “American Library” since 1978 – a great help in updating my reading and writing skills….

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Attached are two pictures of Ruby, the American Center, Mumbai cat; one is current and the other taken circa 2006. Ruby is at least 20 years old, but we don’t know her exact age, although she has been with us since she was a kitten.

The “cat house” referenced in the article is Buddy House at Sakarbai Hospital, started by a former Consular Chief, Fred Polasky and his wife, Maureen Riley. They still support Buddy House, and Buddy House would welcome your readers’ contributions in cash or kind. Maureen also still sends food and other items to Ruby regularly.

We appreciate your interest in Ruby!

Cheers, Anne

….Since 1990’s I noticed a cat – feed tray kept inside the huge “American Centre Building” premises, a heavily fortified building in Mumbai.

On occasions I observed a grey/white common female tabby using this luxurious feeding bowl, hence realising that this cat might not be an ordinary stray but a privileged tabby living in “V.I.P luxury”.

Over the years I occasionally saw this cat while visiting the library, seeing it age as did I!

Suddenly, over the years I completely forgot about this cat, busy with other proceedings in my personal life, rarely visiting the library. Since the last few years I again started visiting the library on a regular basis and to my astonishment saw this same cat, aged and thin, wondering if it was the same tabby of the 1990’s.

On inquiring with the staff I was told that it was the same old cat, now totally blind but well cared for and totally sheltered from the cruel world of stray moggie cats.

This cat roams the entire premises of the ground floor of the premises in Marine lines, akin to a “National Park”.Just yesterday, Saturday (25-6-2011) I had been to the library theatre to see the movie “Giant” and saw this giant of an aged feline lying motionlessly at the entrance path to the main building.

It has become painfully thin and I inquired about permission to photograph it for an article and refused the same. This cat has definitely been receiving the best of cat food and veterinary treatment since some people at the American Centre are ardent cat lovers; sponsoring a “cat house” for stray cats at the local veterinary hospital at Parel in Mumbai.

Most of the bloggers on “Pictures of cats” are from Europe and U.S.A and I request a citizen from the U.S.A to inquire about this particular cat from the “American Centre ” staff in Mumbai by either writing or speaking to them.

The longevity of this cat is extraordinary and I won’t be surprised if it is above 20 years of age. This cat is now in its twilight years and according to my estimation towards the end of its long, privileged life-span.

An article on this rare common Mumbai tabby with its photograph would be excellent reading for all cat lovers, both, on cat longevity and cat care.
The adress of “AMERICAN CENTRE” is as listed below.

The American Library
American Center
4 New Marine Lines
Mumbai 400020
Ph: 22624590
Fax: 22624599

Hope of seeing a “PHOTOGRAPH” of this “ELUSIVE CAT’ of the “AMERICAN CENTRE” in Mumbai.


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Mumbai’s Oldest and Most Heavily Guarded Cat

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Dec 22, 2011 Agreed
by: Michael

Hi Rudolph. I agree that the sprawling mass of buildings and extra activity is less good for people and cats!

America is broke with their 14 trillion dollar debt so they should reduce the size of this complex if it is part funded or totally funded by the American taxpayer. I don’t see how they can afford it.

America still thinks it is rich. Things have changed for ever.

Dec 18, 2011 Mumbai’s oldest and most heavily guarded cat.
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

Visited the new “American Center,U.S Consulate General building complex” on Thursday(15-11-2011)at its new location at “Bandra Complex” in Mumbai.The security check-up was mind-boggling with even my ordinary mobike checked for “Explosives”, a first in my life having traveled through numerous World airports and city’s.Honestly, i missed my “Old Library”, a quaint small building that was once the “American Library” at Marine Lines in South Mumbai.The present American Consul general building is a sprawling estate, massive and beautifully artificially landscaped, ultra-modern with the World’s best security,original “Marine guards” on patrol. Surely, late feline “Ruby” would have definitely felt out of place in these new surroundings compared to its cosy small comfortable luxury small building compound at Marine lines. Honestly, when i entered the new “American Consul General building libraray” at Bandra-Kurla complex did definitely miss the familiarity of the old Marine lines building and cat Ruby. But then thats life, we all have to adapt to changes, humans as well as pets.

Oct 24, 2011 Mumbai’s oldest and most heavily guarded cat.
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

On Monday (24-10-2011) Cycled to “Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit animal hospital” at Parel, a part of the city landscape that has changed little since 1874 when this hospital was built.

Had been to inquire regarding the “Lodging Charges” for cats but the hospital does not run a “Cat Boarding Lodge”, accepting only sick pets in requirement of treatment.

Visited the “BUDDY ENCLOSURE” and was happy to note that the cat enclosure was and is beautifully maintained since my last visit a few years ago.

This lot of privileged cats should really be thankful to their human patrons Mr Fred.Polasky and his wife Maureen.Riley of the American Consulate in Mumbai.

Inquired regarding the present maintenance of “Buddy House” and glad to note that it was still being maintained by the American Centre despite the departure from India of the main patrons.

Thanks to the ordinary tabby cat “Ruby” that “Buddy house” became a reality for some of the lucky stray or abandoned cats of Mumbai city.

They definitely live a very privileged life in “Buddy House Enclosure”, complete with cushioned chairs and good cat food. IF HOSPITAL AUTHORITIES ALLOW:- ADVISE “BOMBAY DARSHAN TOUR COMPANY’S” TO MAKE THE “BAI SAKARBAI HOSPITAL” A TOURIST VISIT ATTRACTION TO SHOW PEOPLE A PART OF 19TH CENTURY MUMBAI.

This hospital is really unique.

Sep 19, 2011 Mumbai’s oldest and most heavily guaged cat :- An Epitah.
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

Had visited the “American Center” on Monday(19-9-2011) to attend a discussion on “Jury Trials and the Media” by Consular officer Kristy.Haller. On inquiry i found out that the “American Ceter” might shift its premises from the present location at Marine Lines to the Bandra-Kurla complex by the end of 2011.Seems, the aged cat “Ruby” had sensed an imminent change of “home” and providence made her depart to her final resting place from her life-time home at the American center premises.Wonder if the new premises at “Bandra-Kurla Complex” would have been as homely as the premises at Marine lines, since cats are very territorial and prefer their familiar hide-outs, even if strays, let alone pampered pets.As one of the longest lived tabby cat of Mumbai, “Ruby” was lucky and fortunate to have “RETIRED” gracefully from the living world of cats,a privileged cats life.The ” Cat Feed Bowl” at the entrance of the “American Centre” is absent,human newcomers unaware that a aged cat once resided for over 20 years on these premises.

Jul 14, 2011 Farewell, Ruby
by: Maureen

Ruby indeed had a guardian angel, in the form of a wonderfully good-hearted employee of the American Center (I won’t release her name without her permission). Ruby was well cared for all her life, and especially in her last days. I last saw Ruby in 2006; in fact, I think one of the photos here was one I had taken.

Buddy House welcomes the interest of any and all cat lovers. Since Fred and I left Mumbai in 2003, we have been trying to find local support for it, but so far to no avail. If anyone is interested, please let the American Center know; they’ll contact us.

Jul 14, 2011 Ruby
by: Ruth

It’s always a relief when an old cat chooses her own time to go, far better than anyone having to make the decision for her.
R.I.P dear little Ruby.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jul 14, 2011 R.I.P. Ruby
by: Gail (Boston, USA)

Thanks, Anne, for sharing Ruby’s life and her demise with PoC. We shall also miss her dearly and thank you so very much for sharing her photos with us. I imagine the halls will seem a bit more hollow after having Ruby as a fixture at Buddy House for all these many years. Ruby has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but will live on in the hearts of those who loved her. Peace.

Jul 14, 2011 Mumbai’s oldest and most heavily guaged cat :- An Epitah.
by: Rudolph.A.furtado

Should be grateful for the long life lived by Ruby, receiving the best of care and security.Honestly, as a regular visiter to the “U.S.I.S” common library i will definitely miss seeing Ruby’s “Fedding bowl” with cat food and the other bowl with water kept after the security entrance lobby.Every cat or pet has its own unique character and i am sure “Ruby” will definitely be missed by the people who cared for her, despite being an ordinary tabby cat.Thanks Anne.E.Grimes for the photo and bio-data of “Ruby”, a definite help to cat owners and pet lovers.

Jul 14, 2011 Sad Epilogue
by: Anne E. Grimes

A sad epilogue to Ruby’s story, she passed away yesterday morning. It was natural and peaceful, and we’ve been assured she was in no pain. We will miss her.

Jul 07, 2011 Thank you from me too
by: Ruth

It is so nice to see Ruby’s photo, she is beautiful as well as a very special cat.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jul 07, 2011 Thank you Anne
by: Gail (Boston, USA)

Just a brief note of thanks to Anne for sharing photos of Ruby. The current photo shows a very old yet contented-looking kitty. Bless her and wonderful tidings to all of those who care for Ruby as well as all creatures, big and small, at Buddy House.

Jul 06, 2011 Mumbai’s oldest and most heavily guarded cat.
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

The communication importance of the “Internet” was proved by the release of the photograph of Mumbai’s most elusive and heavily guarded cat, “Ruby” of the “American centre”.
Thanks to Anne.E.Grimes for providing the history and photos of this cat and site promoter Mr Michael.Broad for corresponding to the “American Centre(Mumbai).
My presumptions and estimations of “Ruby”were bizarrely accurate and the cat is definitely over 20 years of age, and at present in its twilight years.
As for the “Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital” at Parel, it is the oldest and largest animal hospital and Veterinary college in Mumbai, established in 1883 due to Philanthropy from Sir Dinshaw.Manockjee.Petit(First Baronet).I personally had my pets(Dogs prior to cats) treated at this hospital in the 1980’s before the proliferation of “Veterinary dispensaries” in Mumbai as its close to my residence .In 2007 did some social service at the hospital whilst undergoing physiotherapy after recovering from a serious motorcycle accident that almost killed me.My voluntary job was to daily walk the “Stray Dogs” in the morning inside the hospital compund, a job that made me understand “Dog Psychology” and also a understanding of animal care and hospitalisation.Not once was i aggressively attacked nor growled at while handling some of these street strays, manny in a bad physical and pain condition ,undergoing medical treatment.It was then that i got to know “Buddy house”, very well maintained with all the neutered cats living harmoniously in a clean enclosure with luxurious cushions and chairs!Should thank former consular chief Mr Fred.Polasky and his wife Maureen.Riley for having left a lasting legacy for cat lovers in Mumbai in the form of “Buddy House” and the elusive cat “Ruby”.Having personally owned 2 dogs and now cats, besides being a frequent visitor to dog shows, i vouche for the fact that “Ruby” is the luckiest pet alive in entire Mumbai.Wishing Ruby a long and contended cat life of luxury and care.

Jul 06, 2011 Pictures
by: Michael

We have pictures, very kindly provided by:

Anne E. Grimes
Public Affairs Officer/American Center Director
U.S. Consulate General Mumbai

Thanks a lot Anne; that was very nice of you to take the time and effort.

I’ll see if we can get some cash to the cat house!


Jul 03, 2011 “Mumbai’s oldest and most heavily guarded tabby cat”
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

Yesterday(Saturday 2-7-2011) i had again visited the “U.S.I.S Building” to view the movie “National Velvet(1944)”, the last movie on a tribute to late actress Elizabeth.Taylor.As usual, i again saw this cat lying motionlessly at the entrance, absolutely skin and bones, pathetically thin and sickly to look at.Its food tray was filled to the brim with ‘Branded cat food” and another dish with water.The “U.S.I.S” staff have responded to Mr Michael.Broads letter but to date there is no information neither a photograph of this most interesting and unknown cat, the luckiest mowgy tabby in Mumbai, now living its final twilight days .This cat looks very sickly and hope the “U.S.I.S” staff gives us cat lovers a brief history, ownership and life-span of this unique feline.The “U.S.I.S” would be soon shifting to another building in the suburbs of Mumbai, selling off this building and hence ironically this might be the “LAST CAT” to be a pet on this “U.S.I.S Building premises”.

Jun 27, 2011 We have heard you!
by: Information Officer Mumbai

Hello Cat Lovers!

I am happy to report that we are in the process of having “Mumbai’s Oldest Cat” photographed and we shall send it in shortly…

best regards!

IO Mumbai

Jun 27, 2011 We have heard you!
by: Information Officer Mumbai

Hello Cat Lovers!

I am happy to report that we are in the process of having “Mumbai’s Oldest Cat” photographed and we shall send it in shortly…

best regards!

IO Mumbai

Jun 27, 2011 Photo
by: Gail (Boston, USA)

I wonder if the reason for not photographing the cat has more to do with security than the cat itself? Or, could it be that fear of theft is an issue? Superstition? It’ll be interesting to see if Michael gets a response.

Jun 26, 2011 Mumbai’s oldest, protected cat.
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

I am happy at the response and sincerely hope that the “American Centre Staff” responds to site owner Michael.Broads letter.
We could at least get a photo and also “Inside Information” about the life of this amazing lucky mowgy cat, a ordinary Mumbai cat.

Jun 26, 2011 Thanks for a Fascinating Story
by: Jo Singer

I love reading about older cats …and this one seems like there is definitely a guardian angel standing by.

I wonder why you could not get a photo? I would think they would be wanting to brag..

Age is just a number anyway and all souls are ageless!


Jun 26, 2011 Very interesting
by: Ruth

How very interesting !
I would love to see a photo of the cat.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jun 26, 2011 Hi Rudolph
by: Michael

Thanks for an interesting article from bustling Mumbia, India. I can almost smell the spices and the fumes!

Domestic cats seem to occupy large government buildings as mousers. They are useful. No !0 in Downing Street has their own mouser as you have probably read.

I emailed the Center:


I manage a well know website about cats – – and a distinguished visitor and contributor to the site, Rudolph.A.Furtado, has written an article about your venerable and admired tabby cat who has lived at the American Centre in Mumbai for many years – – I wonder if you would be kind enough to provide a photograph of your cat to illustrate the article. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best Regrads
Michael Broad

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