Soumya Thekingal swears by the silent, reassuring company of a cat. For many years now, she has rescued and fostered homeless animals and found them adoptive families, and believes that their love is as steadfast as that of a dog’s. “They’re very easy to maintain, especially if you’re a working professional. They’re clean, easy to litter-train and make excellent apartment pets,” says Soumya who feels that while they’re independent, they are expressive of their love. “You feel owned by a cat,” she says of this unique relationship. “I’ve heard stories of how cats climb all over their owners when the owners come back from a vacation.”
“They show affection at a different level,” she says of the common misconception that they are aloof. “My kitten (as well as other cats) sits in the kitchen while I’m cooking to give me company. They even sit and watch over me when I’m cleaning my cupboard or putting on make-up.” For this reason, Soumya refused to admit an orphaned kitten at a shelter and took great efforts to find her a loving home where she would get individual attention and pampering that a cat needs.
She adds that these gentle friends are capable of great courage and loyalty and recalls her first ever cat, Kichu in this context. “We were sitting on our backyard wall when a friendly dog approached me,” says Soumya. She laughs at the memory of how Kichu perceived the docile dog as a threat and rushed to the rescue of her owner. The feisty feline successfully fought off the puzzled dog.
She holds up a green signal to anyone who asks if they should adopt a kitten as a pet. “It’s like having a family member,” she says. “They greet you when you come home, fuss over you and that makes you happy!”