Cat lady of Mumbai lives with 70 cats and 3 dogs
Cina Shivdasani with her cats
Meet Cina Shivdasani, cat lady of Mumbai. She shares her room with 70 cats and three dogs. She’s been sheltering injured cats for more than a decade, and we salute her love and passion for these humble beings.
Cina Shivdasani, a 37 years old woman, a true Mumbaikar, and a true animal lover. She works at a pet store in Malad and shares her 200 sq ft one room house in Juhu with her mother, a caretaker, 70 cats, and 3 dogs. Cina and her mother have immense love for animals. “We sleep in whatever space is left, after all our furry companions have sprawled,” said Cina. We’ve heard of multiple animal households, but 73 is a huge number. In Cina’s room you’ll find cats perched on top of shelves and cupboards. The dogs like to laze around on the bed. She moved into her mother’s house in Juhu, eight months ago after she got in some trouble with the neighbours and police at her Madh, Taloja, Kharghar, and Oshiwara accommodations.
Managing 70 cats is not easy
In her last accommodation in Madh, she was paying a rent of Rs 16000 per month. But the owner’s brother said that he wasn’t told about the cats at the time of shifting. “The owners tried all tricks to throw me and my companions out. They even disconnected the electricity supply,” she said. In February 2017, Cina lived in her Madh house without electricity for 52 days. Police and animal welfare officials would often visit her house to assess the situation. Madh Component Authority Court gave a ruling in favour of the owner and Cina had to relocate with the cats and dogs. That’s when she decided to move in with her mother.
The love for animals started in 1999
It is her unparalleled love that she has given a new lease of life to so many innocent animals. But would you believe that back in her childhood, Cina was terrified of cats and dogs. In 1999, Cina’s sister rescued a cat and bought her home. They named them Mau, and that was the commencement of her love with animals. Most of her cats are accident victims and many of them are even paralysed.
Thankfully the new neighborhood is more cooperating and understands her love for animals. But feeding and taking care of health and medical needs of 73 animals who you love with your whole heart turns out to be an expensive affair. Cina says that she spends around Rs 400 per day feeding them five kg of rice, fresh fish, chicken, and dry fish. ‘For more than a decade a vet— Dr Chauthalkar—has been treating my pets,” said Cina.
When we feel that there isn’t any hope, a tiny ray of hope flickers to bring back positivity. There are many volunteers in Juhu who help Cina take care of her pets in small ways and bring food for her cats. Just because animals cannot speak doesn’t mean they don’t understand. They also feel the same pain and
understand our feelings so well. “Unlike humans, their love and loyalties come without any expiry date,” said Cina.