Over the past five years, Malika has rescued over 100 kittens herself and been directly involved in over 300 adoptions. Sometimes, she even fosters kittens against the will of her two bratty cats, nurses them back to good health and, helps them socialise.
“I am able to do this only because I have the complete support of my family. Unfortunately not many people are open to the idea of their kids / family members fostering or adopting pets. It is honestly the simplest and most effective way of helping an animal,” she says. Spoken like a true animal angel. Here’s what transpired in our #CaturdayChat.
Have you always been a cat lover?
Malika: Growing up, I was more of a dog person. My cat adventures began only about 10 years ago when Tiger, a stray brown tabby, walked into my life. His rendezvous with a dark brown cat (Chocolate) behind my building, ultimately brought the two kittens, Simba and Leo, into our lives.
They were born in my house and we thought we’d let them go eventually, but we all grew attached to them and soon after their birth, their mum disappeared on us! Adopting a pair of kittens (now, mini tigers) has changed my life completely… for the better, of course.
Every day, we learn something new about them. Simba is very playful and believes he is superior to humans. He always has to get his way—if he wants to play, we have to drop everything and play with him. If he wants a certain snack, he has to be given the right one, or he won’t eat it. He is smart enough to know which container has the snack he prefers and actually knocks it off the kitchen shelf if we don’t give in to his wishes.
Leo, on the other hand, is extremely shy and is very reluctant to be stroked or touched against his will. But, when he wants it, he has to get it. He will follow you everywhere until you give him some loving.
Do you follow up on the cats after they are adopted?
Malika: Once the kittens are ready, I work on finding them homes and I try my best to follow-up with all the adopters after that. Over the past few years, I’ve come to realize that post-adoption support is more important than the adoption process. To get regular updates on the cats, see that they are up to date with their vaccinations and sterilization and that the adopters are following the protocol is very essential to avoid returns and rehoming of the cats.
Seeing that skinny scrawny little thing you were sure didn’t stand a chance, all grown up, confident, healthy and well settled in a place called home with a family to call its own is the best feeling. A little love goes a long way, and that is where fostering plays a major role.
Talk about your first rescue.
Malika: My first rescue was one which really touched my heart; A kitten named Caramel I rescued from near my first workplace. I had literally no knowledge on even the basics of kitten care, since my cats had their mommy for some time. That’s when I reached out to the NGO World For All, for help on how to handraise a kitten and also for help to find the baby a loving home. Unfortunately, little Carrie passed away due to Feline Distemper (FPV).
The 5 months that she was with us, she touched our lives in unimaginable ways. Her journey with us, however short it was, inspired me to get more involved in spreading awareness about the truly misunderstood feline community and to sensitize humans to the love and joy that cats and pets can bring into our lives.
How do you juggle being an animal angel with a full time corporate job?
Malika: Being a Group Manager for Business Communications with Madison PR, I have an amazing team that is very understanding and supportive. I try and keep all rescue and foster update calls for post work hours so it does not hamper my routine, unless of course it is an emergency. I keep all helpline numbers readily available so I can direct the caller to the appropriate NGO / vet in such cases. I am very active on all the adoption support Whatsapp Groups during the course of the day and have the complete support of a team member who steps in while I am away.
Which are the best resources and groups online for cat lovers and rescuers?
Malika: Adopting a cat is a lifetime commitment and the NGO I work with, World For All, strives to provide adopters with many helpful resources and information about cat care, food and nutrition, health, and house training, that will help him / her take care of their new pet.
In addition, Facebook forums in India such as Meow Mumbai, Indian Animal Forum, Bombay Cat Club are also resourceful as member insights help get a lot of clarity on care care. However, for medical assistance, it is most important to consult only with your tried and trusted vet instead for advice.
People like Kitten Lady, who is a professional kitten rescuer and humane educator on a mission to change the world for the tiniest felines – and Jackson Galaxy a.k.a. the Cat Daddy who is a feline behaviourist – are incredibly resourceful.
Malika has also started an Instagram page for all things cat! Cat lovers now have access to goodies inspired by their favourite felines – from bookmarks, to phone covers to socks. Part of the proceeds from there go towards the welfare and rescues of stray babies. Check out MissWhiskerz on Instagram.