Stray cats alert authorities to abandoned baby in sewage drain

This is an op-ed about a story from Mumbai, the commercial capital of India. I have visited India so I know the smells and sights of the country. Although it was many years ago. This stray cat story perhaps sheds a bit of light on what life is like in that teaming commercial capital. A place where there are many stray animals, breeding freely because they are unsterilised. They scavenge a living as community cats.

Rescued infant after stray cats made residents aware of the child in a drain
Rescued infant after stray cats made residents aware of the child in a drain. Photo: Mumbai Police tweet.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

A mother, or somebody under the directions of a mother abandoned a new-born child in a sewage drain, we are told by online news media. It was wrapped in a cloth and dumped. Abandoned to die. Is that the way they sometimes (rarely) do things in Mumbai? It isn’t the first time as there are two similar incidents. Without wishing to be unfair or unkind or unjustifiably critical, it seems that for some mothers life is cheap.

Note: This is an embedded tweet. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

In this instance, the stray cats in the area inadvertently came to the rescue because they investigated what they probably perceived as an invading hostile presence of some sort. They didn’t know what it was so they had to investigate. And I suspect that when this group of stray cats congregated around the abandoned new-born baby people noticed it as they created a ‘ruckus’ in the words of the police. People investigated. They found the child and notified the police who rushed the baby to hospital. The Mumbai Police tweet on their heavily followed Twitter account reported the incident.

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They state that the baby is safe and recovering so the end was good. We don’t know the gender of the baby and neither do we know the names of the parents. The child will be adopted and hopefully live a long and happy life. I wonder if one or two of the stray cats might also be adopted as a reward?

News media also reports a similar incident in November 2020 when a new-born was rescued from the roadside after her parents allegedly put her inside a gunny sack and left her to die. This incident took place in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. A passerby heard the child cry and told the police who took the child to a nearby hospital. In a third incident in June 2018, a new-born child was thrown away in a storm drain in the southern Indian city of Chennai. A milkman, on his way to work, heard the cries of the baby. He told a local woman who went to investigate and discovered the baby. She pulled the child safety and it was taken to a nearby hospital.

The stories paint a very sad picture of women becoming pregnant when they don’t want to be pregnant, when they don’t have the financial means to care for another child. Rather than finding some other means to deal with the problem they throw the child away. Is there a formal process that mothers have recourse to under these circumstances? Can’t they notify the authorities and seek their assistance? Perhaps it is very difficult. It must be because it must also be incredibly difficult for a mother to do this unless they have been inured to the emotional turmoil that this can bring to parents.

I feel for the cats too. Such a harsh life relative to that of domestic cats in the UK and Europe.

Source: local outlet NDTV via International Business Times.

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