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After stray dogs, stray cats could be in for a sterilisation drive in Mumbai.

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Posted on March 16, 2016: Deputy Mayor of Mumbai Alka Kerkar has reportedly raised a sensitive issue of the rising number of cats in the city. And to control the number of cats she suggested their sterilisation along the same lines as that of stray dogs. Is Mumbai really so full of cats? While population control measures may be a much sounder alternative to straight out culling animals, Kerkar is looking to fast track the issue and get teams on the ground looking to trap, neuter and release cats in Mumbai much like the stray dogs under the ABC (Dog) Rules. She has demanded for a budget allocation for the same to initiate this project as early as possible. “Now, the stray cats are causing nuisance to the citizens. So, there is a public demand that their population should be controlled. Hence, the sterilisation of stray cats is required to curb their population on the lines of stray dogs’ sterilisation,” the Indian Express quoted her as saying.

The only problem is that dogs are not cats and cats are not dogs. A one-size-fits-all solution is not possible here.

What’s the matter

How does the deputy mayor propose to capture the cats? Cats cannot be caught and netted as easily as dogs and they get a lot more stressed than dogs do upon capture. Will it be male or female cats, who will be sterilised? Considering the territorial nature of cats, will they be released back into the same territory or into rival territory? There are far too many unanswered questions here.

Kerkar took up the issue in the group leaders meeting. However, her proposal garnered mixed reaction from civic corporators. According to her proposal, cats give birth to, at least, two to five kittens at a time, and can do so a maximum of four times in a year. And the civic body has absolutely no control over this increasing population of cats in the city.

She has therefore suggested using the civic dispensary in Bandra as a sterilisation centre for Khar and Bandra on a pilot basis.  The dispensary was recently renovated by the BMC. If the sources are to be believed, a senior leader said an expert committee should be formed to give their opinion on the same and the BMC should ask it to come up with suggestions and measures to control the allegedly runaway feline population of Mumbai.

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