May 10, 2018

The Mowgli in me

Those who have known me for a while would be aware of my ability to make friends just about any cat/dog (a cat/dog whisperer?). Yes, over the years, I have developed to knack of reading the psyche our furry brethren and modulating my behavior/posture to make them feel comfortable and not intimidated.

How did this all start? When I was 6 years old, I started the daily ritual of going over to my neighborhood friend’s house with my elder sister. I was too young to play with my considerably elder peers. Fortunately, I found some other playmates, thanks to my neighbor’s grandmother. Her passion was rearing cats, and she had about 20 of them[1] (with ~2 or 3 litters of kittens) at any point in time. I was initially afraid of these adorable but hazardous monsters, but I slowly got used to being with them and handling them. I started paying closer attention to how kittens/cats behaved, and eventually learned how to mimic their cries and sounds. [2] In fact, I became so effective in managing them that my neighbor’s family called me for help regarding any feline emergencies!

At 12 years of age, I adopted one my of my neighbor’s cats (Thalla Poocha – meaning Mother Cat in Malayalam) who brought dozens of litters of joy to my house over the next decade. I eventually adopted (from PETA/SPCA) a cat-friendly dog to help me manage my feline population. During this period, the kittens I raised earned the reputation of being well behaved and human friendly, and eventually were in demand for being adopted. [3] [4] Many of these felines are now spread across Kerala. Eventually, I moved to Bombay for my post-graduation, and adopted a kitten (aptly named Manohar Kadam) at the hostel. He eventually became the darling of the hostel/mess. After moving out of the hostel, I didn't have the means to have pets in my life. But I made friends with cats and dogs whenever I had a chance. One of them is the infamous Motu Patchy, who was a big street dog at the building where my company's offices were in the late 2000s. He started taking seriously the role of “protecting” us to the extent that he would snarl at and chase delivery boys!

Over the last few years, with the help of my partner, I have been able to adopt/rescue a dog in Alibag (KiKi), two kittens in Alibag (Spock[5]/Billyji), and two kittens in Mumbai (Miggins[6]/Blu). Here’s to more paws in mine and our lives!

Blu and I, a week after she was rescued from the mean streets of Colaba.

[1] My grandmother used to tell me these fantastic stories our neighbor’s ~120 cats lining up on a low parapet wall to be fed fish!
[2] I was so nerdy even back then that one my first summer school project was to study cat behavior and psychology!
[3] I eventually adopted another female cat, who could not get along with Thalla Poocha. Coincidentally, these cats two gave birth to two litters of 4 and 5 kittens, separated by just 3 days. I mixed these litters up in their infancy, and the two mom cats shared maternal responsibilities for all 9 kittens.
[4] My Instagram name chachoch is a derivative of the names of my favorite batch of kittens. Chakku, Chokki, Chakki.
[5] Spock has been missing for over a year. Male cats tend migrate and find new territories. We hope that he’s safe and thriving somewhere in the nearby villages.
[6] We lost Miggins to feline leukemia at the tender age of 4 months.

1 comment:

deeps said...

a good Samaritan there