During the last 17 years since 2004 after the demise of my mother circumstances forced me to become a regular visitor to the ” Kharude Worli Fish market” for purchasing fish, my favourite non-vegetarian food. As a adventure traveller was a fan of the Fish angler series ” River Monsters” by Jeremy Wade on ” Animal Planet” that showed him unravelling real life fish mysteries a la Sherlock Holmes of the fishing world while solving cases of monster fish across the Globe.His research in fish crime detection included visiting local fish markets and hence didn’t find my regular daily morning fish purchasing job mundane. Ahoy ! During my rounds of the market visiting various fish vendor’s was saddened as well as amazed by the large number of resident stray cats of this fish market as also in fish market’s all over Mumbai .Much before becoming a fan of ” RIVER MONSTERS” my solo travel across different city’s around the globe always had the local “Fish Market” visit on my sightseeing agenda , be it Africa, Asia or Europe .At the time of writing have visited 81 country’s and almost entire India .Over the years spotted some really rare beautiful stray cat’s at my home city “Kharude Worli market” as also across various locales in Mumbai city. On Monday(22/7/2021) during the “Covid 19″ restrictions managed to photograph this stray cat pictured in the photo which is a prime attraction for it’s beautiful coat coloration. In a normal ” CAT SHOW” sure this cat could win a prize in the ” Indie cat breed” .It also has a good temperament and very well behaved akin to a pet house cat. Also photographed the beautiful stray Calico cat sitting next to it shown ith the photo below..To blow my own trumpet thanks to my write-ups and blogs over the years that Mr Shree.Nair , a pet journalist in the Middle East responded to my blogs and we together along with a few other cat enthusiast successfully established India’s first cat club “Indian Cat Federation” with Mr Shree.Nair being the President of the newly formed cat club.FINALLY MY PERSONAL BLOGS AND AWARENESS OF CREATING A “CAT CLUB” IN INDIA HAD PROVED EFFECTIVE AND Mr SHREE.NAIR FOUNDED THE “INDIAN CAT FEDERATION” IN BANGALORE .NOW ONLY HOPE THAT CAT SHOWS ARE HELD IN OTHER INDIAN CITY’S INCLUDING MUMBAI, AKIN TO DOG SHOWS. Mumbai city had its first “International cat show” on 27th Saturday and 28th Sunday September 2014 at the “Stallions Banquets” in Prabhadevi, walking distance from my home .Couldn’t display my 2 Long hair Doll Face Persian cats “Matahari” and “Matata” as “Matahari” was recovering from a illness while “Matata” had the temperament of a wild Serval, totally unfit for display or handling at a “Cat Show”. Mrs Anneliza.Hackmann(President of World cat Federation, Germany) was the chief judge assisted by Dr Johan.Lamprecht ( South Africa) and Petra.Muller(President of Middle East cat society) while Mr Shree.Nair( President of Indian cat Federation) organized this entire landmark cat show. PHOTO ABOVE :- A beautiful stray cat on the “CAT WALK” along the footpath of Prabhadevi road in Mumbai .
It was during this cat show that the idea germinated of developing the stray Indian street cat into a International cat breed and name it the ” Indian Billi Cat or Indian Mau cat “.PHOTO ABOVE :- ” Champa” our resident building cat whom i have been tracking since the last 7 years is absolutely intelligent and as docile as a house bred pet cat. A candidate for the model of “Indie Mau cat“.
The Bombay veterinary college along with “Indian cat Association” would be doing research work on the “Mumbai street cat(Stray)” and hoped to create a recognized street cat breed called “BILLI(Cat in Hindi language)” in a few years akin to the “Arabian Mau” created by Mrs Petra .Muller. PHOTO ABOVE :- Building resident cat Champa’s companion who i named “Scrapper” , a semi wild stray afraid of humans and used to always sit next to “Champa” in the building compound.Here he is seen in the 2-wheeler garage about to run on seeing me approach him for a photograph. A very stocky compact built cat .
During Mumbai’s first cat show in 2014 had a talk with German Petra.Muller(President of Middle East cat association[MECATS]) and was amazed to learn that she lived with 325 cats in her villa in Dubai. In 2008 she was responsible for getting the natural street cat of U.A.E/Dubai as a recognized breed by the ” World Cat Federation” after conducting 5 years of research and breeding of this local cat breed.This cat was named the “Arabian Mau” cat. She has also published a book on this cat breed and “National Geographic” did a documentary on this new cat breed finally giving it International recognition. So we in India decided to replicate Mrs Petra Muller’s “Arabian Mau” by giving the Cat World our very own local bred “Billi Cat(Indian Billi/Mau”. Yes, definitely a “Copy Cat Idea”. Ahoy !PHOTO ABOVE :- A stray blue eyed cat outside the famed “Gallop’s Restaurant” at the Mahalaxmi racecourse in Mumbai. Seems to be having some eye infection. Most stray cat’s live a short miserable life , especially the fish market cat’s.
Sponsorships is essential for any product, Industry as also for a “Cat Club” to survive and was sad to finally realize that after just a few years since its inception in 2013 “Indian Cat Federation” had become dormant as a cat club with the “CAT SHOWS” coming to a abrupt end.In its dormant form the “Indian Cat Federation” set the trend and showed the path for other like minded cat fanciers who were once members of “Indian Cat Federation” to continue the trend of cat shows in India akin to dog shows. PHOTO ABOVE :- A free living outdoors cat that had a collar and was tracking a squirrel that was chirping on this huge Banyan tree situated outside our building entrance gate.This cat had a collar and hence was not a stray but someone’s pet and allowed to roam freely outdoors, a rare privilege for cats in Mumbai’s concrete jungle .
After the abrupt disappearance of “Indian Cat Federation” the cat shows were organized by the newly formed “Alliance of Cat fanciers” based in Bangalore and the “Feline Club of India” based in Mumbai.PHOTO ABOVE :- “Mango” the latest edition to our building compound of “Resident Stray cats” appeared out of the blue in early 2020 during the “COVID 19” lockdown and was accepted by resident stray cat’s “Champa” and “Scrapper”. Here in 2021 he is a full grown cat displaying his magnificent canines akin to a “Big Cat”. Ironically he has displaced “Scrapper” as the dominant resident male stray cat who now lives on the fringes of the building garden estate. It’s similar to a young tiger taking over the territory of the older resident tiger in the wild jungle.Cat’s are identical replica’s of their bigger cousins in habit and temperament. Thanks to the observation of our very own building stray cat’s that i got to study the behavior of free roaming stray cat’s.
The promoter of “Alliance of Cat Fanciers” Mr Sudhi.Katikineni of Bangalore is a certified judge of the “World Cat Federation” and akin to “Indian Cat Federation” he conducted a few shows under the “World Cat Federation” registration. The President of “Feline Club of India” Mr Saquib.Pathan has definitely given “Cat Shows” and “Cat Awareness” a giant leap in the common public mind by conducting cat seminars, cat shows and “Cat webinars” and he has actively taken over the baton from “Indian Cat Federation” to canvas for legitimizing the creation and recognition of the “Indian Mau”.
PHOTO ABOVE :- My daily visits to the “Kharude Worli Fish Market” in Mumbai made me aware of the plight of the stray free living cats that have made the fish market their permanent home.My face is covered with a mask due to “Covid 19” pandemic prevention precautions which also gave me ample time to observe these stray market cats as the market was less crowded than in normal times.The average lifespan of most of these cats is half of the lifespan of a average pet house cat. Also observed some of the most beautiful “Indie Cat” specimens among this pack of fish market cats.
Hope i live to see the “INDIAN MAU(BILLI)” as a International recognized breed akin to the “ARABIAN MAU” during my lifetime or if not hope some day in the distant future as the “Cat Fancy” groups as well as “Cat Shows” in India grow in numbers akin to “Dog Shows”. .