Sat, 12 Mar 2005

From: AFP

Fur flies as Bangladesh hospital repels cat invasion

DHAKA: Health chiefs in Bangladesh have launched a drive to evict some 200 cats living in the wards of the country's premier public hospital, officials said.

For years the cats have roamed freely about the hospital, establishing a "mini-kingdom" of their own and growing fat on the food meant for patients, the hospital officials said.

But now a team of ward assistants armed with traps and sacks has swung into action to eject the feline invaders.

"We've caught scores of cats and sent them to exile in faraway places so that they cannot come back to the hospital again," administrator of Dhaka Medical College Hospital Brigadier General M.A. Matin told AFP.

"The operation will continue as along as a single cat remains in the hospital. Our aim is to create a hygienic atmosphere," Matin added.

The eviction drive was launched after patients complained that the hospital had been invaded by hundreds of cats who treated it as their home, other officials said.

The captured cats have been released on the far side of Dhaka's Buriganga river, around five kilometres (three miles) from the hospital.

The 1,700-bed Dhaka Medical College Hospital is the country's premier state-owned hospital.

Due to governement subsidies, it is also the country's cheapest hospital attracting hundreds of poor who go there for medical treatment each day. AFP