‘Cat man of Mylapore’ comes up with lockdown feeding strategy for felines

Spread across the neighbourhood, S.R. Prakash’s volunteering team takes care of the stray cats

May 17, 2020 01:28 pm | Updated 01:28 pm IST - Chennai

One day, over two decades ago, when a clowder of stray cats was roaming around on the premises of his apartment complex looking for food, S.R. Prakash fed them. With the food offered to them being delicious, the felines returned to the same place the next day, and Prakash fed them again. Since then, Prakash’s bonds with cats have only being expanding, to go beyond the apartment complex to encompass the entire neighbourhood.

Prakash, 63-three-years-old, a retired ICF staff and a resident of Mylapore, is fondly called “the cat man of Mylapore”.

Prakash has been feeding stray cats in many places in the neighbourhood, including Nageswararao park twice a day. He also takes care of stray cats around the temple premises and the list includes Kapaleeshawar temple, Navashakthi temple and Mundakanniamman temple.

“Feeding cats gives me immense satisfaction. In fact, I have three cats in my house and one of them, named Tyson, is 17 years old,” says Prakash.

Every day, Prakash has been following a routine, spending at least a couple of hours in the morning and evening, visiting various places in the neighbourhood to feed stray cats, giving them oats and cat food. Initially, there were only a few dozen cats in the neighbourhood. However, due to regular feeding of these cats, other stray cats have moved in, and their numbers have considerably increased. Prakash operates with volunteering team to feed the cats.

“My job is not just about providing them with food. I give utmost importance to their overall wellbeing, and so ensure they have regular medical check-ups. My pet doctor, Dr. Nagaraj of Ballow Multi Speciality Pet clinic, is very supportive of my efforts to take care of the stray cats in the neighbourhood. It's a team effort,” says Prakash.

With restrictions in place due to lockdown, Prakash manages to feed these cats through his team of volunteers in the neighbourhood every day. Right now, he restricts his feeding work to his apartment complex by taking care of the eleven cats there, including the three in his house. Apart from taking care of cats, Prakash never fails to feed rice to hundreds of crows on the terrace of his apartment complex every day. Specially-made earthen water bowls are kept for these birds.

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