After many years as an advertising copywriter, Devika decided it was time to start working for an entirely different set of clients - our misunderstood 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, Devika set up The Cattitude Trust in 2005 to address these specific goals. While caring for countless sick and injured cats and kittens at home with the help of her husband and son, she realised that the need of the hour was an adoption forum for rescued animals. 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. Later, she helped conceptualise the creation of Pet Pals in the Hindu, Metro Plus, the inspiring animal welfare cum adoption column written by Sriya Narayanan for ten remarkable years. Pet Pals in its new avatar continues to feature animals needing homes today.
As slowly, cat by cat, Cattitude started to make a small but significant difference, Devika rejoiced in the many changes in attitude that slowly took place over the 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 founded Help Animals India. She is deeply indebted to Dr. Katherine Schubert (now retired from Cats Exclusive Veterinary Centre, Seattle) for her invaluable and caring guidance over the years, and in particular, to Dr. Chinny Krishna, Chairman Emeritus, The Blue Cross of India, her mentor and bridge over troubled waters.
The many beautiful cats she has lived with, sheltered, and cared for over the years (many of whom are very old now) are - and always will be - her greatest inspiration and her best teachers.