City Hangout – Cats & Dogs, Bulbuli Khana
The art of co-existence.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It’s a very strange sight—dogs and cats living together serenely. But this is an everyday happening here in Old Delhi’s Bulbuli Khana.
Now a black cat surfaces from the direction of Gali Nal Bandan street and gingerly walks toward a bowl brimming with milk. Having had her fill, she supinely lies alongside a dog. Not hanging out together, exactly, but peacefully close to one another.
“By nature they are to each other like India and Pakistan but our mohalla’s cats and dogs at least know how to co-exist peacefully,” explains local shopkeeper Waseem Ahmed. He’s lived in the neighbourhood all his life, “and I’ve never seen our cats and dogs fighting with each other.
“We give them plenty of milk and food, and they share it between themselves.”
These stray animals also depend on local butchers who regularly toss them tasty meat entails. Meantime, many households keep bowls of milk outside their street-facing doors.
Other species thrive here, as well. Throughout the day, pigeons owned by residents race about the rooftops. Pet goats are tethered alongside store fronts, while live chickens are sold by hawkers as casually as aloo and gobhi by vegetable venders. But you have to walk through the locality one of these days primarily to see the unusual harmony between cats and dogs.
Come nighttime, however, and the scene changes abruptly. Cats and dogs violently pounce over each other to kill big rats–now emerging from their secret holes to rule over the empty lanes.
The true art of living