June 12th 2011 10:24 pm
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I had been away from my home for 4 days, leaving on Thursday(2-6-2011) and returning on Sunday(5-6-2011).It was an outdoors nature trip with the "B.N.H.S Group(Bombay Natural History society)" to the forested seaside resort of Guhagar in the Konkan region of Maharashtra.Spotted leopard scat and claw scratches on a treetree in the forests of Shiroli, approx 20 Kms from Guhagar as also numerous birds.On my return home, refreshed from a exotic and hectic nature tour i observed a strange change of behaviour in my cats. Matata came and slept on my bed, a normal habit of his, but on the first day at home on Sunday night he just refused to vacate my bed, sleeping at the foot near my legs.His normal habit was to jump onto my bed , get petted a bit and then get down and sleep in his own favourite place around the home. Akin to the wild leopards of the forests, matata has left strong scratch marks on my furniture, totally ruining my living room settee.My "T.v Viewing chair" in the living room is partly destroyed by "Tomcat Matata's" scratch marks, a miniature leoperd who uses the chairs arm rests as one of his favourite scratching posts akin to the leopards in forests using trees as scratch posts.One important duty that matata does is scaring away a rat or rats that come into my storage loft, despite barricading the same.I release matata onto the loft and he quickly treks them, if any, a detriment to these pest rodents that at one time almost ran riot in my house.I have mentioned the same in my previous entries and readers would wonder the resons of rats taking a liking to my residence loft, despite regular checks and maintained house.I thought that "Fencing" the ventilation openings would end the rat ingress problem but to my horror on Monday(6-6-2011) we heard a noise in the loft. The next day again heard the noise and hence put matata on the loft.He quicly went towards the ventillation wire near the toilet , chasing the rat away. Seems the rats had bitten through the fencing wire and entered and henceforth the only alternative to controlling these peats is occasionally releasing matata onto the loft.Matata is a good hunter as proved by his hunt on the house gecko's and hope the rats are scared of him and henceforth avoid my storage loft as their home.Its embarrassing facts to put into print but then it could be helpfull to other house-hold suffering from rodent pests. If you have a cat make use of it a a "RoDENT DETTERENT" akin to 'PEST CONTROL", only difference, cats are natural rodent controllers in nature.Let your cat earn its upkeep maintenance expenditure!
May 28th 2011 2:13 am
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Today morning the topmost kitchen windowsill was left open by mistake and as usual matata found his way to the top of the window ledge.
Normally, all the kitchen windows are opened whlie house-keeper Sabina does her cooking chores, the same closed after usage.Whenever the top windowledge is left open matata has to climb to the top and watch the World down below from this tremendous height of 5 floors.He learnt this habit from his dam matahari who has now lost interest in the same, preferring the gallery window ledge, an easier and safer place to climb.
Whats the reason for matata's fatal attraction to this most dangerous resting spot in my entire household?
My cats have the entire run of the 0ne-bedroom flat of my house, akin to human children, as i am a bachelor.
Why the attraction to this particular sitting ledge in the house?
Luckily, i have photographed this bizarre circus antic a few times, proof as well as a view for readers to form their own conclusion of this dangerous resting place of matata.
As a professional gamboller i realise that the odds of cat matata slipping at least once during his upteen climbs to the window ledge and falling 5 floors below are quite high and shudder at the thought of the same.
As for matata, seems he really loves living life at dangerous heights.
May 6th 2011 8:22 pm
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Readers of this diary might be familiar of the "rat Plague" that suddenly infested my household and the methods adopted to get rid or control the same.As metioned, both my toilet and bathroom ventillation openings have been fenced to prevent the rats entering the storage loft through these openings, climbing up the building through the "drain Pipes".
the "brain wave' of putting matata onto the loft to track the rats was a wise decision as the loft space is too narrow and inaccessible for a normal built human.The loft storage space is cluttered with "Hose-hold items" consisting of some nostalgic memorablia framed photographs of another era in our family,utensils and "sentimental memorablia".
the first time i put matata on the loft he seemed a bit confused and later found his way to the floor by jumping onto the stool and onto the floor, typical cat athleticism.
Today, it was the second time i put him on the loft and after a quick reconnoisance of the small loft space he jumped down to the floor via the lofted stool, very enthusiastic in his catwork of mouse trekking.
Seems, we have finally got rid of the mice problem, a real relief after a personal experience that they caused in our house in 2007, literally invading the house, something unbelievable.
May 1st 2011 7:42 pm
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Rat race to end as BMC hires killers
By: Rinkita GuravDate: 2011-04-29
Civic body hires 183 night rat killers for the suburbs to keep the menace the rodents pose to the city to a minimum
The suburbs of the city need pipers to lure the rodents away, and the BMC plans to hire 183 of them to control their numbers. Called night rat killer (NRK), they will add to the existing army of 44 NRKs that are currently on the civic body's payroll to fight off rats in the island city. These civic employees with their self-explanatory designation are responsible for keeping the city free of the menace of rats.
Dr Arun Bamne, insecticide officer, BMC, said, "The proposal has been tabled out to fill in 183 positions for NRKs in the suburbs to help curb the rat menace better." In the last 5 years, the BMC has successfully eliminated 13,01,129 rats. As such, the numbers have been steadily declining in recent years. And the authorities do not want this trend to reverse, hence the new recruitments.
Since 2006 until now, rats have gnawed away a humongous hole worth Rs 8.5 crore in the BMC's pockets (see box). This was the money the body spent on trapping and killing rats across the city. On an average, it works out to Rs 1.7 crore a year.
Currently, the BMC has 134 rat trappers and 44 rat killers, all of the latter being deployed in the island city. The partiality springs from the fact that SoBo has more rats than the suburbs. Explaining why, Dr Amne said, "The city area has old buildings in narrow allies. People throw garbage out of their windows and it piles up in the gullies, where rats breed."
For the suburbs though, the corporation earlier used to hand out traps to residents. The rats so ensnared were sent to Haffkine Institute in Parel, which disposed of them (see box). But now, the BMC has opted for hiring more rat killers, as the traps used were expensive, the wire they were made of cost the civic body Rs 1,000-2.000 per cage. Dr G Ambe, executive health officer, BMC said, "A lot epidemics can be curbed if rats are eliminated. Leptospiris, caused mostly due to flooding, will also wane. And most importantly, the number of rats would decline in the city." Standing Committee Chairperson Rahul Shewale said, "With a vision to combat the health problems in the city due to the increasing number of rats, we want to clean them out completely. And with 183 NRKs, the suburbs would be better off."
Nearly 400 rats are taken to the Haffkine Institute in Parel every day, where the rat destruction unit checks them for the flea index. In case of a lot of fleas, the BMC incinerates the rats hosting them, that is they are smouldered to keep the city free of epidemic and plague threats. "An incinerator unit is kept in the Haffkine Institute where the BMC carries out the incineration under the supervision of the Haffkine Institute," said Dr Bamne.
Night Rat Killers
The monthly salary of a night rat killer is Rs 5,000. The rat killer gets a commission of 25 paise on each rat after the target of 30 rats is achieved, and unlike a trapper, a killer is required to kill the rodent on sight. The qualification for being an NRK is that a person should be physically fit and be able to lift at least 50 kg of weight. He should have passed Std IV. In Feb 2010, 33 night rat killers were appointed. The last appointment before that took place 20 years ago.
Number of rats exterminated by the BMC the last three years:
2010 : 3,48,000
Rs 5,000 Monthly salary of a night rat killer
13 lakh Number of rats that the BMC has killed in the last 5 years
Rs 8.5cr Amount spent by the BMC in killing rats since 2006
183 No of night rat killers that the BMC is set to hire to tackle the rodent menace.
I have taken an extract from "Mid-Day Newspapers", a popular Mumbai tabloid explaining the "Rat Menace in Mumbai" and control measures taken by the Mumbai municipality to curb or control this menace.My house , is not the only unique residence to have been once inflicted with "Mumbai's Rat Plague", seems its a major city problem :- Matata's owner Rudolph.A.Furtado
April 29th 2011 8:11 pm
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Read the diary entry posted prior to this, a newspaper cutting of the "RAT MENACE" in Mumbai city and the money and human effort in curbing the menace by the Mumbai Municipality.
Today, i suddenly got a "Brain Wave" of putting Matata on the loft and letting him sniff out any rats, although i have fitted the new wire netting fence.I lifted matata and put him on the loft, a place totally new to him. akin to a "sniffer dog" he explored the small enclosed space with no detection of a rat, a real relief to my efforts of getting these destructive pests from my house.He later came down by himself, jumping onto the stool and back on the house floor, his job of "Rat Detection" for the day complete.
April 28th 2011 2:47 am
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On Wednesday evening, after consuming his dinner at approx 1930 hrs, cat matata suddenly yelped and vomited.He vomitted his entire food intake, something he had never done before in his 2 years of life-span.Initially i panicked thinking that he had swallowed some foreign material since this was the first time he vomitted his entire food. His dam matahari vomits her "Fur balls" along with a bit of food occasionally but matata has never done the same in his entire life-span. After a little bit of "Coughing" he got back to his normal self and is hale and hearty, his usual, playfull mischievious self.
I wonder the reasons for this unique, once in a life-time severe vomitting? matata is a very tough robust cat, more tougher than a street feral cat, a freak for the "traditional persian" breed.
April 21st 2011 10:22 pm
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Since childhood i have had a succession of pets which included hedgehogs, cats, dogs, parakeets, sqirrels, white mice, a fighting "asil hen", a fish tank, a turtle, green tree snake as well as pigeons which roosted in our house.Once, for almost a month , i even volunteered for walking the "S.P.C.A dogs" at the animal hospital in parel(Mumbai) free of cost. Some of these dogs were road side strays, dangerous to handle, yet i would daily walk them in the hospital compound. Not once have i been attacked or bitten by any of my own household pets but the unimaginable happened on Thursday(21-4-2011) with my own pat matata biting me..
I was lying on my bed in the bedroom on the night of Thursday at approx 2000hrs, listening to music and as usual matata leaped onto my bed to be petted.I was petting him and playing with him when suddenly without warning he grabbed hold of my right rist and furiously attacked it, akin to a tiger/lion/panther attacking its prey or worse , its human trainer.I quickly withdrew my fist from his jaws and realised that he had bitten me, a deep tooth mark imbedded on my right wrist with drops of blood oozing.The wound hurt and the bleeding stopped after application of some medicine.
I feel he attacked my fist as being an "Uncastrated cat" he gets viscious and agressive when matahari is in heat. The trouble is he doesn't know how to perform his sexual functions and hence must have retaliated against me in the dark, mistaking my fist to be some alien intruder, as male cats are very territorial. What surprised me was the force of his "jaw Bite", impressive for a cat of his size, the bite still hurting the next day.I shudder to imagine a tiger/ lion/ leopard doing the same to its human handler/trainer as sometimes shown in photo's and telivision, almost killing them.
Normally matata is a very docile and timid cat, a total toy cat, hence he is even a failure as a "Stud cat" absolutely pampered by his human owners which really surprises me at his unique and sudden aggressiveness towards me.Now i understand the reasons for numerous trainers and handlers in circuses and shows of dangerous performing wild animals sometimes getting killed or seriously injured by their own pet performers .Akin to humans, animals too have their own moods and tantrums which we humans cannot decipher and which could sometimes prove fatal, especially if wild dangerous animals are concerned.Thankfully, matata was just a small traditional persian cat.
April 20th 2011 8:37 pm
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As mentioned before, matata would get very viscious and agressive towards matahari after being bathed as she looked different after a bathe.Yesterday i experimented by having both of them being given a bathe together in the bathroom by housekeeper Sabina.Dias.After the bath, observed that matata was less agressive and i seperated matahari from him, getting her coat partiaslly dried with a hair dryer.Later allowed both the cats to ineract with each other and observed that matata was not as viscious as before, just curious , sniffing at matahari from a distance but never growling or attacking like a dog.The day passed off peacefully between the two, finally having their food together at night and dozing peacefully.Hope this is the remedy for bathing them in the future.
April 20th 2011 3:48 am
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The "rat Plague" seems to have truely engulfed my house with the rats from my storage loft just refusing to vacate the loft.Yesterday night(Tuesday 19-4-2011) i saw a baby rat searching for an opening to the outside through our bathroom ventilation grating. As the same had been covered by a wire-mesh the rat couldn't fid its way out as i had ree-fitted the same after driving out the huge mother rat.Little did i realise that a few baby's were still left inside the storage loft as it is a narrow inaccessible place to thoroughly check. I really got the shock of my life on seeing this miniature mouse and quickly opened the bathroom wire-mesh.Akin to the opening of a door, the mouse quickly ran out of the ventillation and i refitted the same, happy to have gotten rid of it.
On Wednesday morning, to my utter disbelief i saw a baby rat on the toilet side of the loft staring at me as there was no access to the outside. I removed the wire-mesh grating and after some time it went out but before i could refit the wire grating it quickly returned back with another small mouse as they were pursued by crows.Ultimately, i have decided to let the rats remain in the loft until i totally clean up the entire storage space and chase them out of the ventillation gratings.Later i will block the same with the wire-mesh netting and observe if they return back to the loft through some other opening.It really confuses me as to the boldness of these pack of rats of setting up their nest in the same house in which cats live, not an inkling of "Psychological fear".Similarly, persian cats matahari and matata seem to be the lazyiest and most useless rat-catchers unlike some "mouser cats" who would definitely have "Smelled" their prey and ttacked them from their hiding places in the storage loft.My previous cat trxie had the "Mouser cat" instinct, occasionally climbing onto the storage loft and returning back after inspecting the loft.During her tenure we never had any "rat Plague", the same starting in 2007 only a few months before her death when she was ill and couldn't walk properly.Strangely, we have been living in this house since 1975, never facing any "rat problems", the same occuring only in 2007 and now in 2011 and at both times, we had cats!Prior to cats, we owned dogs.
April 20th 2011 3:44 am
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In my previous entry i have mentioned a "rat Invasion" of our house storage loft and the manner in which we got rid of them. As mentioned, the entry into our house storage loft for the rats was through the "Drain Pipes" and "Toilet/bathroom" ventilation conduits.I had installed a grill to block rat entry into our house through the ventillation conduits, the same rusting over the years and hence broken through by the rats.Since the last few days the ventillation was open without the "wire-netting" fence as i had to fir new wire meshes. Finally, fitted an "alluminium wire mesh(anti-rust)" onto the toilet/bathroom window ventillation gratings on monday(18-4-2011) and happy to have got rid of the "rat invasion".Suddenly in the night, my house-keeper sabina spotted a rat peeping from the loft into the bathroom and she panicked, telling me the same. I was perplexed and initially doubted her version since before fitting the new wire fence i had thoroughly rummaged the loft with a stick to scare away any rodent.I went into the bathroom to inspect for any signs of a rat and sure enough saw a huge mouse searching for an exit from the loft as i had blocked the ventillation gratings with wire mesh. I quickly removed the 'wire-Mesh fence" of the bathroom in order to allow the rat to escape, deciding to fit the same the next morning after re-checking/cleaning the loft storage space.Next day, early tuesday morning we cleaned the loft, the rat having made its excape through the open bathroom grating. I later re-fitted the "bathroom grating fence" hopefull that this is the end of the terrible "rat invasion" that has been plaguing our house-hold inspite of the existence of cats.This particular rat must have been the mother rat and i was surprised of its courage to re-enter the house loft inspite of its baby's being destroyed as also its nest.This proves the fact that rats also have a preference for certain locations irrespective of the dangers, being prolific breeders like their nemesis, cats. I still find it difficult and embarrassing to have faced the problem of rats in my house-hold inspite of maintaining a decent house hygeine, besides ,having two cats in the house.Rats are a major menace in Mumbai, thriving in the poshest of localities,buildings restaurant kitchens and also gutters and sewers.
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