This Kerala family had close to 20 cats before nine of them started dropping dead since December.

Pushpa surrounded by her cats
news Animal Cruelty Monday, October 05, 2020 - 18:23

Pushpa still remembers how she got Kuyilimol, one of her pet cats. She was found abandoned in a carry bag near her house, along with three others, on a cold night some months back. Only one of the four survived and Pushpa named her Kuyilimol — from the word Kuyil meaning cuckoo — listening to her sweet meows. But Kuyili Mol, who became one of the many cats of Kottayam native Pushpa, was found dead last week along with Bella and Harry, while three other cats also went missing from the house on the same day.

Forty-five-year-old Pushpa Baby Thomas is shattered by the sudden deaths of the cats. But this was not the first time that her healthy cats have dropped dead or have gone missing. Before the mysterious deaths and missing, Pushpa had 25 cats.

Since last December, nine of her cats have been found dead and five of them have gone missing. In December, four cats were found dead. In April, one cat died and three went missing. In end-September, two went missing and four were found dead. All deaths had one thing in common: The cats were frothing at their mouth. Some were banging their heads on the floor before dropping dead.


Kuyili mol

Puspa has had enough of this. She is determined to find the culprit, as she suspects that someone might be poisoning her cats. She has filed a complaint with the Kottayam East police and is awaiting the post-mortem reports of the cats.


Missing Lillu mon

Strange behaviours before dropping dead

“All these deaths are in a peculiar way,” Pusha tells TNM. “The cats that died had froth at their mouth. Some started exhibiting peculiar behaviour like beating their head against a surface, before falling dead. Doctors have indicated that it could be a case of poisoning.”

On September 27, Bella startled the family when she started beating her head on the floor. Though Pushpa rushed her to a veterinary clinic, Bella soon died. And when she came back home, Kuyilimol and Harry, too, were found dead, the same day. And of the three other cats which went missing the same day, William’s body was found the next day. Two others are still missing.


Bull bull and Goldy who are with Pushpa now

“When Bella started beating her head on the floor, it was shocking to see the other cats stare at her. They were all frightened. Following that incident, I feel all of them are in a state of gloom. They don't play around as they used to,” she says.

“I am fed up and distraught seeing my cats going through this. Whoever is behind this, should be brought to light,” Pusha tells TNM.

Will continue to raise cats like my own child

Pushpa, a teacher in Kottayam, lives with her daughter and husband. After her cats died and went missing, the family is now left with 11 cats, including two mothers, Pandu and Mamu, who recently gave birth to five kittens. Some of the cats at her house were rescued from streets. In fact, Pushpa says, at one point, she lost count of the number of cats she has adopted and brought them home.


Pushpa says cats at times stand in queue waiting for the other to complete meal

“It is painful to see cats with injuries or abandoned on the street. I always keep a basket in my two-wheeler, so that when I find cats, I take them home and raise them, like my own children," she says.

The cats, she says, share a warm bond with Pushpa that they recognise her even from the sound of her scooter. And run towards they rush out to me. And so witnessing the deaths of these affectionate cats have become intolerable for her.

Though Pushpa says that she doesn't have a favourite among her cats, she acknowledges Pandu, the cat who constantly helps Pushpa whenever a new kitten is brought home.

"Feeding kittens is tough. It is Pandu who has come to my help all those times. Even if she is not milching, she licks them and makes sure the new kitten feels at home. For that, Pandu is special," adds Pushpa.


Pandu feeding kittens

She also adds that she will continue to take care of the kittens and cats that come to her, or she finds from the street.

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