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"Matata" a male kitten of "Matahari" added to- Rudolph.a.Furtado's "Cat Family".

(Page 6 of 11: Viewing Diary Entry 51 to 60)  
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"THE RAT PEST MENACE IN MUMBAI AND ITS CONTROL"- (Midday newspaper -29-4-2011).

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.

Costly affair
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:
2008: 1,96,307
2009: 1,91,852
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


Matata gets "House - Job" as "Rat -Tracker" on "House Storage-Loft space"- Saturday (30-4-2011)

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.


Matata chokes on food and vomits for the first time in his- life.(Wednesday 27-4-2010).

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.


Tomcat Matata turns agressive, attacks its owner akin to a- circus/pet lion.(Thursday 21-4-2011)

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.


Fighting after bathing problem partially solved.(Thursday- 21-4-2011).

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.


Cat and mouse( Real life Tom & Jerry episodes)living in the- same house?Wednesday(20-4-2011)

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.


Rat prefers our house storage loft inspite of 2 cats in the- House. A bizarre "Tom Jerry Real-Life"?

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.


Domesticated indoors pedigreed cats are no natural house- "PEST CONTROLLERS"., unlike feral or outdoor cats.

April 10th 2011 9:34 pm
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On Saturday(9-4-2010) decided to check and clean my loft store-room as i suspected a rat of colonising the loft as they had done years ago in 2007, almost creating a rat plague in our house.My house is a small 1 bedroom/hall flat in a plush upscale Mumbai locality,one of the costliest "real-estate" prices in the World, large accomodation compared to the average living conditions of the common Mumbaikar.Our previous albino/siameese mixed cat "trixie" was very agile and used to regularly visit the loft/storage space making us wonder as to the reasons for her strange behaviour of climbing onto the loft unlike Persian cats Matahari and matata who like climbing onto dangerous house window ledges.Little did we realise that rats used to visit our loft regularly, gaining access through the drain pipes and the toilet window ventilation openings.We live on the 5th floor and hence it surprises me as to the reasons for rats taking a liking to our residence or the same might be prevelant in other house-holds in the building with the "Pest-Control" company's being put into business! It was only after "trixie " developed a fatal illness and became sluggish that the rats colonised our house loft and ran berserk all over our house, literally creating a feral rat colony on our storage loft, embarrassing to the cleanliness of our house-hold as well as public reading. The problem became worse in 2007 with the rats at times stealing food kept open the kitchen and hence i finally decided to close the bathroom and toilet ventillation gaps with wire netting.After cleaning the loft and getting rid of the rats, finally closed the ventillation opening with gratings and thought that this was an end to a problem of epic proportions akin to the "bed bugs" plague of New York in 2010.I have personally seen the havoc caused by rats on some ships,the same controlled by means of a complete "SHIP DISINFECTION" where the entire ship is evacuated ashore and a "Pest Control Company" comes on board , fumigates the entire ship, killing all pests.This is usually done regularly during 'Dry-Docking" of the ship or during "shore Repairs", an expensive procedure for shipping companies. Trixie expired in 2007 and i later purchased matahari who in 2009 gave birth to kittens, one of the off-spring being "matata".There were no rat problems for the last few years, but suddenly on Friday(8-4-2011) i noticed a banana partly eaten in the kitchen, typical marks of a rat.Having been an avid reader of Jim.Corbert wild-life hunting books besides being an 'Air-gun hunter" myself in the 1970's decided to track the rat.I left the partly eaten banana overnight in the kitchen waiting to confirm my doubt and akin to a "man-eating animal" the rat did return to finish the banana at night.On saturday ,my house-keeper Sabina and myself decided to clean and check the entire loft storage space.On removing the wire-gratings, observed huge holes in the rusted wire-meshes created by the rats, hence gaining access into our loft storage space.To our amazement we discovered a few rat babies along with the mother rat nestling in a nest created in the corner of the storage loft. The mother rat ran through the gratings while we got rid of the baby rats, becoming our own house "Pest controllers".Would anyone believe a rat laying babies and robbing food from the kitchen of a house which has 2 full-grown cats?This proves the fact that pedigreed home reared cats lose their natural instinct of hunting prey unlike common village and mongy house-hold cats which are natures natural "Pest-Controllers".I thought that the presence of a cat would act as a deterrent for rats , the same proving me totally wrong.Rats are very intelligent and can size up the capabilities of their eternal nemesis, the cat. Our previous cat "trixie" was a mixed breed albino siameese and hence had some natural instincts of the normal cat unlike Persian cats matahari and matata who are total "lap-cats", loving the comfort and security of their human owners.
The "Pest control" business is a booming industry and i have personal experience to understand the reasons for the success of the "Pest-Control" industry all over the World.Its strange, bizarre and true that although we humans try our best to erradicate pests like rodents and pest insects they are still considered the living world's best survivors, capable of surviving even nuclear radiation.As for cats, they help in preserving the balance of nature in the natural environment, a real life endless "TOM & JERRY SAGA".


Cat "Matata" is made "Cat of the Day (Sunday 3-4-2011)" on- "Catster"

April 6th 2011 2:52 am
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Tomcat matata was "Catsters "CAT OF THE DAY((Sunday 3-4-2011)".He is an exact real life "duplicate" of the World famous "Garfield" comic & movie animation cat. See the movie "A tail of two cats".Bizarre similarities between "Matata" and animated cat "Garfield". Akin to "Garfield",besides the coat colours being similar, matata also had thin "tiger stripes" on his hind legs which have become less visible as he aged.
In fact when i saw the movie on telivision was totally amazed at the bizarre similarities of the animated cat garfield and matata.


"Lucky Gecko" sighted in house gallery(Wednesday 30-3-2011).

March 30th 2011 9:05 pm
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The baby gecko that matata had caught months ago and from whose jaws i rescued it was sighted in my gallery on Wednesday(30-3-2011), a day after matata's birthday.
I recognised it from the distinctive "Teeth Scars" of matata on its body, although it was now a full grown gecko.The teeth marks on the gecko were akin to a tatoo mark on humans, distinctly visible.The very fact that this gecko survived the near death ordeal in a cats jaws proves the tenacity and natural healing powers of gecko lizards, a natural pest controller of nature.
Matata, although a useless "stud cat" is an excellent hunter and very feroscious, akin to his wild compatriots of the forests, the "big Cats".
Nature in its purest form is very cruel with an unending battle for survival between carnivores and herbivores, predators being on top of the food-chain.

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Matata alias "JOKER"


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