After very many years as an advertising copywriter, Devika Khazvini decided it was time to start working for an entirely different set of clients - our misunderstood four-legged feline friends. Having tuned in to their unique and beautiful wavelength at a very young age, she was appalled at how misunderstood they were. ‘Oh it’s just a cat’ was just a little worse than ‘cats are cold and sly’, ‘cats are attached to places and not people’ and ‘cats only need to be fed milk’ - a few of the popular beliefs that convinced her it was time to give cats their rightful place in animal welfare and in people’s lives. Fired with a resolve to change attitudes towards cats and show the way in giving our feline friends a better life, she set up The Cattitude Trust in 2005 to address these specific goals. ((At a time when real estate values were through the roof and it was unlikely she could ever set up a brick and mortar center, she began to practice what she described as ‘alternative animal welfare’, caring for many sick and injured cats and kittens at home with the help of her husband and son, using private vets for treatment and spay/neuter and caring for community cats all over, without trying to dump them in overcrowded shelters as was the general practice. )) She begged Mr. Manoj Kumar Sonthalia for a small space in The Indian Express and when he graciously agreed she started Paws a Moment, a small weekly column to help find homes for homeless animals. Slowly, cat by cat, Cattitude started to make a small difference and ((after the initial ‘ Why do you want to help CATS?’ to which her reply was always ‘Because you actually ask such a question!’ )) Devika began to rejoice in the many changes in attitude that slowly took place over the next few years. She was greatly inspired and encouraged by the late Madame Jeanne Marchig, founder of The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust and acknowledges with gratitude the personal learning and help she received from Eileen Weintraub who later set up Help Animals India. She is deeply indebted to Dr. Katherine Schubert (now retired from Cats Exclusive Veterinary Centre, Seattle) for her invaluable guidance over the years, and to Dr. Chinny Krishna, Chairman Emeritus, The Blue Cross of India, her mentor and bridge over troubled waters.
Convinced that shelters are unsustainable, Devika nevertheless ended up with two small cat shelters, one she inherited and one she took over! Today, with dozens of amazing rescuers going it alone and with effective adoption platforms available in the real and virtual world to give rescued animals a better chance in life, Devika hopes that Cattitude will be able to move more towards empowering, enabling and helping to fund those who want to help cats.
Yes, attitudes HAVE changed, and cats are definitely being given the recognition they deserve, but with the rapidly changing urban landscape the challenges ahead for community cats are huge and (she) ( we) hopes / Hope to be able to find more support for large scale TNR and community cat care and to work towards a purrfect world in which every cat has a home and every home a cat.
Pavarotti the Great, Community Cat in Chief is a Very Important Purrson. He has converted dog lovers into cat fans and patiently tutored all his humans in how to care for community cats, how to respect their freedom while allowing them to run the show, and how to enrich their lives as they grow old. He is now diabetic and graciously allows us to give him his insulin shots twice a day. His hobbies are catching mice, riding the elevator and rejecting boring food so that his slaves can explore more exciting ( and expensive ) food options for him and his friends at Casablanca.