Even though it is difficult for Babulal Suvasiya to fulfill the basic needs of his family, he shelters 30 cats in his shanty in Chembur’s Thakkar Bappa Colony
The Suvasiya family rescued two abandoned cats in 2015, and haven’t stopped sheltering cats ever since. Pic/Manjeet Thakur
A 200 sq. ft shanty in Mumbai’s Thakkar Bappa Colony is home to Babulal Suvasiya, his family, and not less than 30 cats and three dogs.
The Suvasiya family rescued two abandoned cats in 2015, and haven’t stopped sheltering cats ever since. Babulal, who is the only earning member in the family, owns a small retail store in Chembur. His wife is a homemaker and his four children are all studying. Even though it is tough for him to make ends meet, Babulal has ensured that these stray animals are fed and taken care of. “Those two cats were thrown out by my neighbours and my wife and I couldn’t see them suffer, so we adopted them,” Babulal revealed. The family now feeds and fosters around 30 cats in their 200 sq. ft shanty in Chembur.
Despite their modest accommodation, the Suvasiya family has adopted strays who were mistreated and injured. According to Babulal, there have been several instances where people have left their cats in front of his house, and they couldn’t help but adopt them. “People in the area know about my love for cats, hence they leave their cats at my house,” he added. When asked about adoption, he said, people show interest, but do not show up eventually.
What is even more interesting is that the Suvasiya family has named all thirty cats. Suvasiya’s wife who addresses the cats as “bacha log” said, “How can we not name them, they are like our kids. They are named after their looks, skin colour or behaviour.”
During the Covid-19 lockdown, Babulal found it very difficult to foster all the cats. Despite the odds, the family did the best to make sure that they don’t go hungry and are well protected, he mentioned. “I used to walk for 4-5 kms to get chicken for my cats. They are all used to it and don’t eat anything else other than cat food and chicken and I like to pamper them,” Babulal added.
“We use our own money to feed and look after stray animals. We haven’t received any help yet. In fact, almost half of what I earn goes towards meeting these expenses. I have asked several friends to donate money to help stock up on food for these animals but there has been no help,” he claimed.
The family’s inhouse vet is Babulal’s daughter Ameesha. Ameesha is also a pet lover and takes care of all the medical needs of the cats in the house. “I love all of them. It is my duty to look after them and I think I do it with utmost care.” Babulal has ensured that the house is well-equipped with cat food and appropriate cat medication.
“I strongly believe that God wants me to care of these stray animals and that is how I am able to brave the odds and take care of them. Irrespective of my hurdles, I have ensured that they get meals on a daily basis,” Babulal shared.
Going forward, Babulal wants to start his own pet shelter house. “I will be grateful if people can come forward and donate for this noble cause. If I get enough money, I will start a shelter house for stray animals around the city neighbourhoods. That is my aim.”
Originally published at www.mid-day.com