Sonai the cat has just lost one of its proverbial nine lives, but is alive and kicking, one paw less. The python, unnamed, was about to lose its only life, but is hissing around now in new-found freedom at a nature park. The two creatures were saved by a teastall-owner and a craftsman.
On Tuesday morning, the white cat with black patches was playing on the platform of Ultadanga railway station, when suddenly, it decided to jump on to the tracks, even as a local train was speeding into platform no. 1.
One of the wheels trapped Sonai’s right hind paw and tail and crushed both completely. The train left and passengers, who take a detour along a narrow pathway leading to Ultadanga Main Road, hopped over a grievously-injured Sonai. “It’s dead. Few humans survive a train accident, and this one’s only a cat,” said one passenger to another.
Local teastall-owner Sadhu Das recognised Sonai and jumped to its aid. “I found it had lost lot of blood and could die any moment without immediate attention,” Das recounted.
He asked his customers to help, but none had the time for a stray cat. One of them put Sadhu on to Love-N-Care for Animals. “I did not raise the cat. I only saw it play around the platform all day. It was my duty as a human being to save it,” Sadhu said.
At the animal-care centre in Behala, Sonai has undergone corrective surgery and is recuperating under the care of veterinary doctors. “The cat has lost a paw and its tail. We plan to give it an artificial leg,” spokesperson Sushmita Roy added.
Late on Thursday evening, several kilometres further south, terracotta sculptor Kapildev Ghosh chanced upon 50 youths, armed with sticks and rods, marching towards a narrow pathway at Tiljala, on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. They were shouting: “It’s a python. Let’s kill it.”
However, before the first blow could be rained on the python, Ghosh pleaded with the mob to let it go. He explained that hunger had driven the snake away from its habitat. He even pointed out that the animal was too weak with hunger to move.
His requests convinced the mob. It helped Ghosh lift the snake into an earthen pot and cover the opening with a mosquito net. On Friday, forest department officials carried the python to the safety of a nature park.