Islamabad’s stray cat population is on the rise and with neutering not on the cards, the winter poses challenges for these felines. To combat the cold the furry creatures end up inside car engines where they often lose their lives when unaware motorists start their vehicles.
Arjumand Hussain, a resident of Islamabad, narrated an incident where a kitten was unintentionally killed at his home recently. “My daughter has a habit of feeding the stray cats that come to our home and the other day when she came to feed the animal she found her dead in the driveway.” It turned out that Hussain’s driver had not checked the car before driving it and the unfortunate feline which was hiding inside the hood got crushed.
Humayun and Sana Raja, who are animal rescuers based in the city, acknowledging the problem, said that they run a small awareness campaign about the issue before the onset of every winter.
“All car owners should put an iron sheet under the engines so that not only is their car engine safe but at the same time the lives of hundreds of cats can be saved,” they said. The couple suggested that residents of the city should make it a habit to check under their vehicles in the winter on a daily basis so they did not have to witness crushed baby kittens.
“Every winter, along with cats, other stray animals like dogs have a tendency to hide either under cars or inside them and the department gets numerous complaints,” informed Rizwana Aziz, Assistant Director of Punjab Wildlife Department (PWD). Aziz stated that the department issues a warning every winter so that citizens could be on the lookout for strays trying to avoid the cold.
She was of the view that when felines hide inside engines they not only ruin the vehicle but end up losing their lives too, so it was better to prod the car or check the hood before driving to avoid such instances.
“This is not a legal obligation but citizens can consider it a moral one as this could save cats and kittens who are merely seeking refuge,” Aziz said.