Dear Sri Lanka
Dilshani Palugaswewa reflects on recent unsuspecting lawbreakers
Gone were the days when felines used to make headlines with their cat-astrophes (or so we thought) When Joe Exotic was imprisoned last year for mistreating the tigers in his zoo and the whole world was convinced that Carole Baskin did kill her husband, it looked as if the biggest of the cats made a scoop that is rather impossible to top. I mean it got the years-old cold case of Baskin’s ex-husband’s disappearance reopened (take that dogs!).
But you know what they say, whatever a tiger can do, there’s always a cat that can do it better. Half-way across the world from that mayhem and madness, a furry feline is currently being detained at the Colombo Magazine Prison (a high-security lockup!) for donning an expensive multi-faceted necklace with 2 grams of heroin, two SIM cards and a memory chip.
With accusations of smuggling drugs to inmates levelled against him, the cat was soon suspected of prison-breaking when he was not found in his enclosure the following day but was subsequently located within the prison premises, having only gone out for a stroll.
Luckily, he didn’t come in contact with his furry not-so-friends – sniffer dogs – who work tirelessly on the opposite end to catch any illegal activity and purr-petrators like our accused furrball.
It was only a week before this drug bust, a hawk-eagle was seized by the Police as they suspected the eagle was used by a notorious drug lord to carry out his underworld drug operations.
Seriously though – cats and birds?
Desperation or pure artistry gone wrong – these drug trafficking incidents come at time when the country is battling a major drug problem with many anti-narcotic detectives having being implicated in selling confiscated drugs. In the recent past, the Welikada Prison has reported an increase in incidents of people throwing small packets of drugs, cell phones and phone chargers over the walls for its inmates.
Pretty ironic times we live in.
Naturally, this feline felony garnered international attention and rather dubious headlines. And quite unnaturally, we see a four-legged feline put behind bars for the same crime his human counterparts commit but these humans are allowed to freely speak in Parliament and retain their incumbent portfolios, despite partaking in such activities while knowing fully well the re-purr-cussions and continue to commit severe crimes – an advantage the poor cat didn’t have – knowledge and consent, thus was easily remanded by prison intelligence while doing the most illicit ‘catwalk’ ever.
Nevertheless, this made for some great tweets, memes and riddles. One of my favourites is a tweet that read, “Delay in passing Animal Welfare Rights Bill forces feline to deal drugs in order to support family.” Seems fair right? He was looking to make some money when money was tight and the law was not on his side. Another social media meme showed the poor cat making a defence or rather an excuse for himself.
According to the cat he was made to believe the pendant of the necklace is not a clump of drugs but rather an innocent ayurveda remedy commonly known as perum kayam. Judging by how in-demand perum kayam was during the lockdown days for its alleged COVID-19 healing abilities, it is no wonder that the poor cat didn’t think twice before adorning his neck with the ‘special’ jewellery. I guess the only good upshot for the cat in prison now is that he gets food, water and hopefully lots and lots of petting sessions.
Well, now that the bag is out of the cat – we can only hope he finds his way back to his family when he is set free and rehabilitates himself before reintegrating back into his ‘cat-ciety’ and starts afresh, never to give in to cat-calling and avoid being ‘cat-tivated’ again.