Thursday, July 26, 2012

I can haz another kitteh...

My husband and I love cats. I have no memory of a white cat I had when I was about 4-5 years old or that I had decided to leave home with her in protest when my little sister was born; but my husband's family has always had cats and my mother-in-law almost missed our wedding because her 13-year-old cat was sick.

It was our first day in Islamabad and someone mentioned that three kittens needed a home. The kittens were about three weeks old and we agreed to take them in. Seeing our enthusiasm that someone then gently told us that the kittens were not Persian, Siamese or Burmese. For us, the sound of kittens was enough!

The cutest foursome: General, Mohtarma, Motu and Chutku

The story of our lives did not end with three kittens. On an evening out, my husband and I saw a kitten being kicked by a young couple and we decided to bring him home too.

General, Mohtarma, Motu and Chutku were perfect stress busters at a time when things were hot politically (BB's assassination, emergency, elections) and we were also trying to cope with a personal tragedy.

Motu's fitness mantra: yoga
Happiness, for us, was in the cats and we fretted if they were not eating right or had been in a fight. Some times we even overdid it. Like the time Mohtarma had a C-section and was returned to us in a semi-conscious state. We thought she was dying. While I cried in private, my husband sat near her box and sobbed, "Mohtarma, please don't die!"

Kitu, Mohtarma's daughter
Four years on, we have about 20 cats and counting -- all rescues off-the-street.

A hard day's night!
That also puts us high on our neighbours' hate list. We've had to barge into homes (with Bhais in tow) to look for missing cats; or fight with people who treat their backyards, where our cats may or may not have sprayed, like a jannat ka tukda; smile at unkind comments such as yeh toh aapne ghar ko zoo bana liya from landlord; or quench people's curiosity over the real reason why we keep so many cats -- woh bhi jungli; friends asking sarcastically: so whats the count?; and guards having a good laugh when we call out for Chammak Challo or Chocolate.

Chammak Challo
Taking care of scores of cats is surely not easy. We regularly chase Toms in the middle of the night and keep moving furniture to the garage to make room for more and more....We also leave our bedroom window open (in peak winter/summer too) to let in Itty, our outdoor cat, when she thinks she has had enough of the outdoors.

This September we celebrate the fifth birthday of our first set of four cats and, so far, we've loved every moment with them. In that sense our Pakistan posting has helped us rediscover ourselves -- and I, for one, would love to chuck my current profession to become a full-time cat-keeper.

Unfortunately, we've also seen a lot of cats die -- and one being maimed for life. Time has helped us cope with these tragedies, but what do worry about now is our cats' future upon our return to India. We do not know if these cats are Pakistani or Indian - something we love checking with them all the time -- or if we would be allowed to cross over with them but the thought of leaving behind even one kills us.

Cocoa, our special needs cat
That doesn't mean we are shutting the door on our feline friends yet. Meet Tiger and Hero the newest additions to our cat family.


Tiger, our newest
And do remember to join in for General-Motu-Chutku-Mohtarma's fifth! 


  1. You two are doing a Fantastic job, really. I am an animal lover myself(not a breed lover), it puts my heart to so much ease to know these beautiful cats have a safe and loving home! GOD bless you.

  2. Thanks AY!
    I am aware of the good work you are doing too! Keep it up!

  3. :) I'm trying my best. Hope like minded people like us can make a difference for animals here in Pakistan. And I really hope by the time you leave, I and along with a friend are able to develop a shelter so that we can keep your cats and find good homes for them too.
    Best wishes for today and always! :)

    1. And that should be GREAT!!!
      The best to you too.

  4. That shelter sounds like a good idea... The legacy of two Indians in Pak... a kind of dosti shelter... maybe you can pop in every so often after you go back to India to check up on them!


  5. lovely kittehs ! I wantz one.

    p.s. majorlybrofound iz a dost and he iz alive aand well. ;)

  6. Topsy, CHOOSE!

    Glad to hear major is safe, please ask him to return :)


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  32. Just learned that you are being evicted by Pakistan. I hope you are able to settle your cats properly, in good and caring homes. And best wishes for a safe trip home.

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