Meet Rima Hooja, The Woman Who Takes Care Of More Than 100 Cats In Jaipur
- IWB Post
- August 8, 2015
Need your help!
Remember this amazing woman raising more than a hundred cats at a time? Her trust ACT (Animal Care Trust) could use some help towards giving the animals a better place to live!
Here’s what the trust is currently doing:
1) It is currently living at 11 Uniara Garden (registered office),
2) They are caring for, feeding, treating & looking after residential cats & kittens in their Animal Home and feeding 4-5 local street dogs at present.
3) There is an on-call (& also routinely 2 times a week) veterinary doctor. His compounder comes for 2 hours a day 5 days a week.
Here’s what the trust is looking to do:
(a) to set up an electric crematorium for safe & sanitary disposal of deceased animals;
(b) have a full-fledged animal treatment center – to lead to an eventual animal hospital & research center.
(c) to move existing care home /shelter to a fully fitted facility in or around Jaipur. (This may be my own 2 bighas at Kotputli on the Jaipur-Delhi National Highway, but finances prevent that from happening immediately)
(d) to establish a permanent shelter for abandoned cows, male calves, bulls, buffaloes, donkeys and other animals & birds along with the above (at Kotputli)
e) neuter and spay the cats asap (finances for the procedure and staff salaries for the shelter-helpers have made this a slow process)
However, at present just keeping afloat is keeping ACT from doing many things we could do!
How you can help ACT!
(i) financial support to add to corpus & for running expenses;
(ii) assistance in kind through old newspapers, linen, plastic buckets and tubs
(iii) cat food, vitamins, and medicines
(iv) sponsors for the vet and compounder’s expenses
Any form of assistance – small or large – will be accepted with gratitude.
The Trust’s bank details are as follows:-
ANIMAL CARE TRUST
HDFC BANK LTD.
BRANCH: ASHOK MARG, C-SCHEME, JAIPUR (RAJASTHAN)
ACCOUNT NO.: 50200007121121
Read our interview with the compassionate animal lover!
Let’s admit it, we are actually slaves when we say we are cat-masters. Cats rule humans. But however uncouth that sounds, we can’t help but love them.
On the occasion of Cat Day, I have this amazing story to narrate. You might have heard of the internationally acclaimed city based Historian, Archaeologist, and Writer, Rima Hooja. But do you know about her mysterious secret? She is a Cat-woman. No not like the Halle Berry’s character from the movie Catwoman, but because she owns more than 100 cats. Say whaaa?
Rima is a humble woman who is carrying forward the legacy of her talented artist mother, Usha Hooja, the creator of tri-murtee and other famous statues across the Pink city. A graduate of the University of Cambridge, Rima has written many books including a 1200-pages book titled ‘History of Rajasthan’ talking about the hundreds of archaeological sites in the state along with the history of their proud rulers.
She is currently associated with the New York Independent College Consortium For Study In India where the students visit India as a part of their exchange program. In the past, she was on the Editorial Board of ARC [Archaeological Review from Cambridge], Department of Archaeology, Cambridge University, 1983-84. Moreover, she is linked with various initiatives on Indian heritage and their restoration.
Let’s come back to cats. So how come she has SO MANY of them? She told, “When I was 10, I was fond of 2 things – archaeology and animals. That time my mother had a monkey and brother owned a goose. We had so many animals living in the house. There was no question to not fall in love with them. About cats, well, cats happened. Somehow cats kept coming into our home and made it theirs. Sometimes, I would spot a wounded cat in the locality; other times strangers would bring me bags full of cats. This still happens. It answers and justifies the figure 100+.”
Though I am more of a dog person, when Rima invited me and Shashank (the photographer) for a visit to the areas where the cats reside, I was super excited.
Curious-me: Do all 100 of them live together?
Surprised-me: 3 halls?
Rima: Well the truth is, you can’t even expect them to stay inside these three spacious rooms. They roam in and around the house all the time.
Meanwhile, something passed in-between my legs. That cute-something had a thick gray swinging tail.
Excited-me: OMG, it’s the Garfield!!
Goofy gives a plain look and turns his head in the other direction.
Well, such are cats.
We entered the big hall where we spotted life-size cages ruled by cats. Rima understands animals like no other. She has done a deep study of the cat family and knows what living conditions are preferable for them. The spaces have high-rise iron branches, sky-high sitting areas, corners, and enough brightness and ventilation, making it every cat’s favorite place in the locality.
Rima shared her future plans saying, “I opened a trust in 2014 called ‘Animal Care Trust’ (ACT) after I realized my babies have grown in number. For future, I have got a big space in Kotputali where the work has begun to allow such animals to live a life they deserve. This place will be a natural living space along with the facilities of a dispensary and general shelter for temporary animal-stay. By the way, ACT has ‘CAT’ letters in it. Just saying.”
This lady is head-dip in cat love. Cute!
On asked what qualities of cats she admires the most, she answered, “Cats are very self-contained. They are quite and act on their terms. This is one of the wisdom qualities we humans are taught – speak less, act more.”
I so agree. A little ‘meow’ once in a while is heard when they want food or are bored. Rest of the time, they just sit, relax and stare at the world outside as if admiring its beauty in profound philosophical thoughts.
“I have 5,6 maids (including me) serving these queens”, said Rima giggling. I was inquisitive to know more about their living pattern in the house. Rima clarified, “The males and females live together. As suggested by some veterinary doctors, I haven’t divided them according to their gender. They are not living in jail or orphanage; it’s a home after all. They are free to choose with whom and in which rooms they want to pee, eat, sleep and do head-butts!”
A quality food and regular check-ups by the veterinary doctors are a must on Rima’s cat-care guide. What more, even the bentonite clay and pebbles on which the cats pass their ablutions also come from a trusted company in Bikaner.
As I am unhappily bringing this article to an end, I have the most interesting part to share with you – the cats’ names! Rima has given such innovative and quirky names to her kids that it can be made into another book with baby names!
Photo courtesy: Shashank K Tyagi