Aathira K and Kriti Kulsreshtha
An aspirational India has been increasingly vying for a lifestyle of comfort with lucrative pay packages. Such ambitions, along with perks invite hectic schedules which obviously lead to stressful lives for professionals in their 9 to 5 jobs.
The idea of destressing has grown into a major lifestyle trend in recent times. Spa treatments, music, retail therapy are among the first things that come to mind as ways of unwinding from pressure. However, tucked away in a homely space at Jeevan Bheema Nagar of Bangalore is a one-of-a-kind stress-buster. The Cat Studio, an initiative which commenced in January, invites people in the city to indulge in cuddle therapy by spending time with a bunch of cats. What’s more, if the visitors can’t have enough of the adorable ones, the cats are up for adoption as well.
But are cats really ‘pet-material’ given the negative perceptions about them? The adjective ‘catty’ has found its way into the urban English vocabulary, a term used to refer to somebody who is spiteful. Seeking to dispel such notions, the owner of the studio, Vishanth, said, “There are a number of misconceptions that we have about cats, most of them being broken here in the studio. With the growing population of working couples and no one at their home during the day, cats are the best pets because they are independent and their maintenance is not time consuming.”
Vishanth and his wife Osha were involved in rescuing cats in addition to going about their regular jobs. Soon, bringing the rescued felines home looked like a tough task given the logistical difficulties involved. The Cat Studio was born out of an idea to let people find a stress buster among animals while also connecting the cats with potential parents. The centre has already given away 20 cats for adoption.
Running such a haven for cats comes with its own costs and to make it sustainable, visitors are charged a starting fee of Rs 50 for 15 minutes which goes up to 750 rupees for an entire day during which they are free to play with the cats who are friendly and quite used to the presence of new people every other day. The space currently available is minimal and has the capacity to be home for eight cats at a time. The studio has a tie-up with a rescue group. As and when cats leave the centre for their homes, new ones are brought into the studio. The efforts put in by the owners to create a comforting aura is evident with bright toned interiors, toys and even a bookshelf with a collection as diverse as the classic ‘1984’ by George Orwell to the latest bestseller, ‘Gone Girl’.
Earning the right to adopt a member of the Cat Studio is no cakewalk. The centre follows a strict process of adoption which includes an inspection of the prospective home to ensure that it is ‘catproofed’ which is essential since cats are meant to be brought up in a domestic environment.
The studio is in talks to organize a workshop which hopes to prove the destressing benefits of pet therapy. Moving forward, Mr. Vishanth hopes to create a more cosy and homely atmosphere for visiting cat lovers. “We want to enter into that forte where we are anything and everything about cats,” he said.