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Rescued from a terrible hoarding situation, two cats find their family with Veerja Parekh

It’s shocking how humans will find new ways to hurt defenceless animals. Under the pretence of running a shelter, a woman in Goregaon had hoarded over a hundred cats and five dogs in a cramped one-bedroom apartment. People in the locality also trusted her to take care of their animals when they were away from home, paying for the services while others from all over donated funds for the upkeep of her ‘shelter’. Unfortunately, the money was being siphoned for her own personal use. “This woman wouldn’t feed the animals, or vaccinate them,” says Veerja Parekh who worked with rescuers and animal lovers to help relocate the hoarded animals. The 21-year-old had saved six cats and sent them to the woman earlier. Two had already died at the shelter. Out of the four surviving cats she brought home, one passed away shortly after and the other succumbed to feline distemper. “The environment in her home was very unhygienic,” says Parekh. That left one indie and one Persian kitten.

The former, now christened Arabel, was the only one her litter to survive. After being brought to the Parekh’s she had diarrhoea for over two months, a resistant stomach bug that didn’t leave her body in spite of heavy doses of antibiotics. She was exposed to a lot of infections due to lack of vaccinations. “It was scary because she was just a kitten at the time,” says Parekh. Sadly, her growth is stunted now due to medications and the illness but she has an adorable personality. She is always crawling into bed and cuddling up to Parekh. She takes time to warm up to people but once she is comfortable, she is very friendly.

The Persian cat, named Zeppelin was found with feces stuck to his fur, crusts around his eyes and body riddled with mites and scabs. His teeth had fallen out too because of lack of nutrition and not being able to fend for himself, which is why vets can’t gauge his age. While a healthy Persian cat weighs close to five kilograms, Zeppelin weighed only 2.5kgs. His fur had to be shaved off twice. Throughout the day, he had to be treated with ointments, eye drops and antifungal sprays. Special shampoos had to be used to soothe his infected skin. After six long months of treatment, his fur started to grow back, the same time it took for his real personality to shine. Despite his trauma, Zeppelin is very affectionate and calm. “Both of them took a long time to recover. They needed check-ups with the vet twice a week and were quarantined until they fully recovered,” says Parekh. Even while being quarantined, their recovery cages were besides each other while not only hastened their healing but also provided familiarity and comfort to each other. “I was going to put them up for adoption, but it did not work out. People either wanted the Persian or the indie cat,” she says. “No one was willing to adopt the two together as I didn’t want to separate them.”

That’s how the two ended up becoming part of Parekh’s brood which includes her Labradors Muffin and Axl and a rescued cat named Blackie. “All of this was not planned but Zeppelin loves Muffin and is always following him around. Also, Arabel, Zeppelin and

Blackie are always having secret cat meetings. Whenever I come home, I have five ‘fluffies’ waiting to greet me!” Parekh smiles.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 7:29:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/new-lease-on-life/article30001714.ece

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