Babitha Balaji - 81

AUG. 11, 2020

Curtain Hug

The pandemic has precipitated a series of dramatic social, political and environmental changes. Yet, the focus remains firmly on humans, leaving animals mainly out of the picture. While it was first presumed animals constituted a risk vector for COVID-19, the World Health Organisation states that “there is no evidence that a dog, cat, or pet can transmit COVID-19”. But animals, specifically those who live in our homes, remain at risk in ways not currently considered in national policy responses. It includes the chances of abandonment, opportunistic adoption and poor outcomes post-pandemic and domestic violence.

During such a period, my family decided to feed the abandoned feline and canine animals surrounding our farm in Nandi Hills. My story is mainly about two cats. There came two cats, a male and a female, in May 2020. We named the male cat Doremon and the female Bella; they were very playful and amicable. They were probably 3-4 months old when they came to our place. Being a science student, it was easy for me to observe, identify and calculate that Bella had conceived on August 7th, 2020. Since the gestation period in felines is 61 days, she delivered her kittens on October 7th, 2020. She gave birth to five beautiful babies, and I am so happy to have been there with her in her magical and beautiful moment.

Early that day, I noticed her amicable behaviour, unlike the other days and some yellow discharge. Her water broke in the afternoon around 12:30 pm. I was already prepared beforehand for her delivery with floor pads, sterilised scissors, a weighing machine to weigh the kittens and an adequate amount of food and water for Bella. I was excited to see a live birth for the first time in my life, and I am always honoured and proud to have been there, to cut the umbilical cord and see the little ones take their first breath. Thus this is my proud moment story. I would like to share a picture clicked on October 7th 2020, at 9:16 pm.