Downtown

The girl with a cattitude

Cat lover:  Afrah takes care of a clowder of cats.

Cat lover: Afrah takes care of a clowder of cats.

s she was glancing through pet-corner sections in newspapers and magazines, I called Afrah Sheriff a pet lover.

“I am an Ailurophile (a cat lover),” she shot back.

"I am fighting against people’s hate for cats. I am a plus two student and I am nicknamed cat gal at school” adds Afrah, a resident of Kilpauk Garden Colony.

As a four-year-old, Afrah was inspired by a Hindi poem on cats and began to care for these felines.

“As luck would have it, one furry cat abandoned her kittens at my doorstep. And being the only child, my parents encouraged me to take care of the tiny ones.”

"You know Milly, Fluffy, Brownie and Blackie were all rescued or adopted by me.

On a sunny afternoon, a few people were chasing two cats. Somehow, the cats made their way to my gate and I hid them in my room till the coast was clear. On another occasion, Blackie was ruthlessly attacked and I nursed him to health. Fluffy is my favourite. He is a couch potato and the naughtiest. I tamed him, but he still has a knack for getting into trouble, says Afrah. When she talks about cats, there is no stopping her. "I talk to the cats and train them; they obey my commands. Cats are stress busters. No matter how low you feel cats make you feel high. A cat lover gets addicted not only to cats but also to other members of the feline world,” says Afrah and quotes from a study by Carroll University, Wisconsin which found that cat owners scored higher in intelligence test than dog owners.

“I am a vegetarian but for the sake of my cats, I force my mother to make rice and chicken to feed them,” she says. Afrah has she set up a small Soda shop at the entrance of her house — called SALT (Actually the initials of her friends).

"I open it during vacation and a part of the profits goes into supporting the clowder at home. I study about the different breeds of cats and have many books on cats. The cats are no distraction to me as I maintain my grades". A voracious reader, Afrah writes poems and short stories. She fancies the thought that some day she will get the Booker prize.

Travelling is among her favourites. Having gone to Singapore on a School Exchange programme she now wants to witness Aurora Borealis in the North Pole. “These little things give me so much more pleasure than today's technology of Skype, Oovoo, or Google+ Hangouts! cannot give,” she says.


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Printable version | May 29, 2022 1:19:04 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/The-girl-with-a-cattitude/article14488599.ece