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My wife and I’d been contemplating getting kittens for a while now. We aren’t the pet buying kind so the only other natural route was to pick them up off the street or to adopt. Facebook is riddled with animal welfare and adoption groups and it wasn’t hard finding them through friend’s who’d already adopted cats and dogs before. I joined four such groups and started posting. I received quite a few responses about kittens ready for adoption. A lot of these responses and many individual posts came with the standard disclaimer “subject to pre and post adoption checks”. Now this was a first for us, and we weren’t sure of what to expect from these checks. Who were these people who were going to check us? The kitten parents? Or some kind of self-made organization?

Soon enough, I was asked to fill in detailed questionnaires and adoption forms demanding names, addresses, particulars, backgrounds, upbringing, and deep psychiatric eval questions. I knew we wanted to adopt cats but this was getting to be a bit much. Of course there’s a reason behind all this scrutiny and nitpicking. They don’t want the cats to go to bad or insensitive homes. Fair enough. The incessant questioning then went to the next stage where I was called for a phone interview by seemingly young folk who were eager to know how much experience I have bringing up cats, our working hours, our accommodation, balcony or no balcony, garden, will someone be at home at all hours. I was losing my patience until I came across Anitha. Anitha didn’t have any forms or questionnaires and she seemed to gauge my cat rearing abilities through a light and hearty conversation. I saw photos of exceedingly adorable little fellows who looks mischievous and very monkey like.

Gundu was the male and Kai was the female. Rust spotted species (common Indian feral cats) and 2 months old, from a litter of 5, the other 3 of which had been adopted. The parents were free to roam feral cats and lived in and out of Anitha and her husband’s home. As you can see from Gundu and Kai’s photos that Anitha shared with me on Facebook, they’re hilarious and up to no good:

A brief history about my childhood with animals would be of some value here. Our family lived on a university campus for about a decade where we grew up (in Hyderabad, called CIEFL, viz. the erstwhile Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, where my mother was an English Professor). It was a fantastic place with such a diverse array of flora and fauna and a child’s delight. Pups, dogs, birds, trees, thick vegetation, and unexplored woods adorned the vast property. I, along with my friends group took care of quite a few stray dogs and pups and mostly knew all the dogs on campus. I wasn’t averse to fleas, ticks, scratches, worms, bites, nips, and well, you get the idea. I was comfy with animals really and spent my entire childhood around strays and pet dogs and cats. I feel it’s a one up to have that kind of feather in your cap if you want to have pets at home. We even had a dachshund for three years at home. His name was Tobo.

Back to the present day scenario, the reason why I kept getting so flustered with all the probing questions and interviews for adoption was because I was fairly well versed with cats and dogs all through my life until now. I couldn’t expect the foster parents to understand this of course as they hadn’t even met me and they had loads of horror stories to tell about previous adoption cases, mostly resulting in some form of abandonment or in worse cases, death.

Anitha and her husband Shiva, drove back to our place with Gundu and Kai in a basket. We weren’t exceedingly well prepared because I had to somehow organize some makeshift kitty litter and a box on the way home. We didn’t have cat food either and none of the shops were open on the drive back. A quick open cardboard box with some construction sand was provided and we let the kittens into the house. They went about sniffing the entire house and were extremely nervous to begin with. But as they grew, they’ve become part of our little family, along with my wife and I.

More posts to come about how they’re growing, problems they’ve faced, problems we’ve faced and are currently facing, as well as their diet, lifestyle, and interests!


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