We are so used to thinking that a single person cannot change the world that we are often blinded to the amazing potential that each one of us possess. I often find myself among those people who believe that our contribution in life is a little above worthless. That is why yesterday was an amazing revelation. Vijaya Sitaram is one person who believes that the sky is the limit when you are helping the voiceless. Believing in something is just part of what she does. Vijaya is one of the few people who translates her beliefs into actions.
I don’t think I could say that I truely knew Vijaya. I found myself interacting with her a few months ago because we were part of the Bangalore Cat Squad. While I met Vijaya for a few split seconds every time she dropped of a kitten for fostering, I had real insight into the depth her personality and character only yesterday.
Vijaya is a simple woman and humble beyond compare. Yet this motivated lady is the one who is responsible for the spaying camps for cats that are being held every month. Is it easy? Not at all! Her motivation and enthusiasm are catching though. While there have been many spaying camps that have been held before, this was the first one I have attended. Needless to say, I was a complete newbie and I found that my masters degree in Cardiology nursing just did not help me at all.
Vijaya on the other hand was a seasoned worker. She knew what she was doing. Along with helping the doctors work, she simultaneously educated everyone who brought their cats in for spaying. We soon found ourselves talking to the neighboring people and gathering information about the cats in the neighborhood. Even my husband found himself doing something useful and he thought he wouldn’t know what to do!
This is Vijaya patiently teaching me how to tie the Kora cloth for female cats post spaying.
It looked mighty difficult but under her supervision I managed to successfully tie the cloth around the cat!
VIJAYA HAS A RIGHT HAND MAN!
The spaying camp started off at around 10:30 after all the medical equipment had been set up. The doctors were quick and efficient. While they were busy doing what they did best, I couldn’t help notice that Vijaya had a great right hand man. His name was Krishna. While officially most people would call him her driver, Vijaya would tell you that he is her main assistant too.
That’s him in the picture above. You need to forgive the clarity of the pics. I don’t have any clearer pictures of him. He was continuously on the move and getting him to hold still for a snap was as difficult as getting one of a kitten!
Back to Krishna. Armed with the training that he has had from Vijaya, Krishna has turned into a really resourceful young lad. Feral cats don’t scare him one wee bit. All that it takes is one swift movement and he has them trapped in his net. While it sounds easy, trust me it is not. I tried it and almost landed up with my butt in the slush on the ground!
When asked about how many volunteers she has when she conducts the camps, Vijaya gave me a rueful smile. While she didn’t give me an answer, I think I can deduce that the volunteers are few and far apart.
The amazing part is that Vijaya is not even from Whitefield. She travels all the way from the heart of Bangalore city and braves the traffic just to help out the residents in this area. It makes me guilty to think of all the times she asked for help and I backed out at the last moment.
The number of volunteers don’t seem to matter to her. The number of cats that get spayed however are very important. Sunday was and incredible turn out and 19 cats got spayed that day. Success is always motivating and seeing so many people come with their cats certainly put a smile on Vijaya’s face.
THE RESPONSIBLE CAT PARENTS
The picture above shows a few happy cat parents who got their cats spayed. Yes! We got together and had a discussion about how important it is and how many people don’t realize the importance of taking a proactive decision.
What many people don’t understand is the fact that a female cat can get into heat as young as 6 months. This means that she is now fertile enough to mate and conceive. If you put two cats (one male and one female) in the same area and they are not spayed, then this is how the cat population will multiply.
1 year =12 cats
2 years =67 cats
3 years = 376 cats
4 years = 2107 cats
5 years = 11801 cats
6 years = 66088 cats
7 years = 370092 cats
8 years =2072514 cats
9 years = 11606077 cats
These are the statistics and they are horrifying. Why? Simply because the number of people who foster kittens are few and far apart. These foster homes are full beyond their capabilities. While the people themselves don’t mind taking in kittens/cats, the adoption rate is very slow/poor. If the owners of cats spayed their cats at home, the number of kittens searching for homes would reduce drastically. To make things even worse many of these cat owners do not take responsibility for finding the kittens homes. They call up the fosters and ask them to take responsibility for the kittens adoption. This just leads to a really bad cycle.
THAT’S NOT ALL!
While most people who volunteer would have wrapped up after the spaying camp was over, Vijaya was far from done. She went hunting for all the cats in the vicinity that had a skin problem and with the help of the doctors, she ensured that all of them got the medication that was needed. Mind you this was no easy job! While I thing I must be half Vijaya’s age, I found myself huffing and puffing while trying to keep up!
WHAT DOES VIJAYA HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT ALL?
While Vijaya is a lady of few words, she had a lot to say about spaying. Her opinion was that every small step that we take in the right directions makes a big change in the whole cat population scenario. (After all for every two spayed cats you are reducing the cat population by 11606077 cats)
While she was happy about the turnout for the Whitefield spaying camp, she encouraged us to spread the word. Educating fellow pet owners is the key to ensuring that cat spaying becomes more and more popular!
MY TAKE ON THE SITUATION
It took me a few hours to realize why people call Vijaya the ‘Godmother of all Bangalore’s cats’! Her love and passion for them is really inspiring. I think it is time for all of us to pull up our socks. Many of us are young and able. There are just so many ways that we can contribute.
- We can volunteer to help at spaying camps that are organized.
- We can help foster a few kittens for sometime.
- We can adopt a cat.
- If we can’t do any of this then we can share adoption posts and news about the spaying camps.
Every little bit that people do is important. We can’t all be Vijaya but we can certainly be more involved.