REGI THE HANDICAPPED CAT
A dear friend called me one day to tell me there was a little cat living on the crowded, dirty pavement outside the Registrar’s Office. She had been injured in an accident and was dragging her back legs….she felt I should put the cat to sleep as she was leading a very difficult and dangerous life there.
When my husband and I went to the Registrar’s office, we immediately spotted her, hiding behind some plastic water pots. The pavement dwellers were obviously looking out for her…a dirty little black and white cat, shuffling along. We put down some dry food which she gobbled up, and we could hear her purr…we stroked her head and the purring grew loud. An old flower seller said she looked after the cat, but asked us to take her away…troubled, I decided not to do anything yet.
The monsoon was setting in. Lying in my bed at night I visualised what the lashing rain would do to that pavement…I didn’t need to think twice after that. Next morning we went and picked her up. She was so filthy (dragging all the dirt with her…leaving trails of urine…poor little cat) we could barely breathe in the car, as we rushed her to a vet. After a clean-up and check-up, the vet conclusively stated her injuries were too old to be reversed.
That very same day, the heavens opened and rain lashed the city, with floods all over….Regi’s rescue was not a moment too early!
The next few months were a battle to try and restore Regi to normal. We had special medicines sent to us by another animal lover. We had an endless routines of cleaning her and the spots she used as her life-space. And constant verbal re-affirmations of our love for her, so she wouldn't lose hope. All else apart, Regi was prone to severe urinary infections due to her inability to evacuate the bladder….another kind friend made a wooden pen for her ,so that the entire room didn’t need constant cleaning. TukTuk, another monsoon rescue (miniscule little chap, same colouring as Regi!) was her constant companion, and Regi made no bones about the fact that she was a happy little cat.
But soon, her confinement began to trouble her. And I knew that I couldn’t keep rushing home every day to clean up, to take her to the terrace for her outing…it was affecting my work. More than that, she would get really lonely in her pen, and long for company.
One day I took Viji, the mother of Parasparam Ashram, the orphanage where we had our lovely little cat shelter, up to the terrace during Regi’s outing. As she watched Regi shuffle joyfully out of her cage, leaving a little trail of urine, Viji realised how difficult it was becoming. She had tears in her eyes, as Regi gave a series of silent miaows – her signature greeting.
A few days later, I told Viji that I believed the time had come to let go of Regi, as I would never find anyone caring enough to give her a good life. It was then that Viji told me she had talked about Regi with the girls….and the two handicapped girls asked that Regi be brought to the Ashram. I was deeply touched by this offer. Not one to turn away from such an obvious sign that we should give Regi more time, I agreed.
After being spayed, Regi made her train journey to Parasparam. When she was settled in, the girls came, one by one, to meet her. Viji said some of them shed tears when they saw her.
Initially she was afraid, and would come out of her cage only to eat and answer nature’s call. But soon she began to enjoy herself…and when she was let out into the larger shelter, none of the cats troubled her. Here was somewhere she could move around freely, without risk of falling, getting stuck, or being left confined for too long….
Each time Viji visited, she would count Regi’s silent miaows, and one morning she called and told me she had been greeted with a record thirty miaows! There was no doubt about it, Regi was happy.
When I visited her, she heard my voice and shuffled joyfully up to me…I watched in amazement as she was swung in her rope swing, taken for her little "sun bath" and fed her special urinary diet (which her admirer, and constant companion, Porcupine, insisted on sharing)…I realised that we were blessed to be able to give her a new life.
Parasparam Ashram is a home for 22 semi-orphan girls, each from a background of abject poverty. Their futures would have been bleak and unthinkably miserable, but thanks to Viji, and the supporters of Parasparam, these children are leading a happy, busy life, getting educated, being prepared for meaningful futures.
Like them, Regi has found meaning, freedom, safety and contentment at Parasparam.The Cattitude Trust