I have a confession. As a fellow cat parent, I was absolutely delighted to have a conversation with the couple behind Bangalore-based, The Cat Studio. The concept of cat cafes and studios, while quite popular in East Asia is quite new and novel in India. I am a firm believer in the ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’ philosophy. There are more than enough cats in our country already waiting for good homes. The average life expectancy of cats on the streets of India is said to be as low as two years. This, coupled with the overpopulation of kittens being born on the streets every day, makes cat adoptions a boon for the lovely creatures and their humans alike. Vishanth and Osha are indeed doing a commendable and novel job in contributing to the welfare of cats. In this interview, they share their thoughts on running The Cat Studio and their wishes for the mystical creatures that were worshipped as Gods in ancient Egypt.
- Tell me a little bit about yourself Vishanth & Osha. How did you come up with the idea to start The Cat Studio? I (Vishanth) am a retail analytics consultant by day & a cat lover all day. Osha loves dogs and dog care is what her profession is by day. Cat Cafés are a very famous concept in cat worshipping countries like Singapore & Thailand. The Cat Studio is just another way to help animals; we would say a much more economical way. We are not an NGO or shelter, but an experience zone where all that we want people to do is experience how cats are as pets. The Cat Studio is a self-sustained model. We charge people for the experience and that money is used to pay for our cats’ food, bills, salary, etc. People also have the advantage of visiting the studio as many times as they want before they make their big decision to adopt.
- What was the process of putting the idea into implementation like?
Well, what you see is not the full version of what we have in mind. This is just a fragment. We have more ideas to implement & we think there is definitely a market to cover. But we had to make a start somewhere, so we chose this small space and made it as comfortable as possible for both cats & humans. With a bigger and better location, this can be a business that can change the whole perspective of animal welfare.
- How has The Cat Studio been received by the people of Bangalore?
The response is mixed. A lot of people misinterpret the concept to a shelter, which we are not. But people who visit us once have had a good experience and gone back home de-stressed. We would say, so far so good.
- What are your wishes for the future of the cat studio? Do you need any assistance to keep it going?
We have plans to expand. We are looking for investors and have got a solid business plan for the investment they make. At any cost, we will not get involved in the business of breeding or selling of animals. The Cat Studio is a reflection of our passion towards animals and their welfare.
- How has The Cat Studio changed the lives of cats that need homes? Could you share a few stories?
With the limited space we have, we house 8 cats at any point of time that need homes. Having said that, since we are an experience zone, every cat that comes to the studio goes through all the tests, vaccinations & de-worming procedures. This helps us in maintaining all the studio cats away from any diseases. When we find homes for cats, their place is filled by other cats that needs home.Pillu and Baby are two sisters who lived in the studio for seven months. No one was ready to adopt them as they were already a year old and we don’t know for what reasons people prefer only kittens. These sisters now live with Meena & Sazana who adopted them a few months ago and they have found their perfect home.
6. Do you have a message for animal lovers in India? What little things can they do to improve the lives of animals?
Animal lovers are usually taken for granted. We are animal lovers because we cannot just pass by a dog or cat that needs help, instead our hands would voluntarily go ahead and pick them up to give them a better life. But this world is so bad that without money, nothing moves forward. Be it food, water or the smallest thing that we need to take care of the animal. So our message is, all the shelters in India should become experience zones where the shelters make some revenue out of every person who visits. I personally don’t think there is anything wrong in charging people for the work that we do.
7. What is the online and offline address of The Cat Studio? How can people reach you?
To follow, find us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the handle @thecatstudioblr To talk, call us on 08553000285 and/or visit us at 485, Jeevan Bima Nagar Main Rd, HAL 3rd Stage, LIC Colony, Sector 11, New Tippasandra, Bengaluru, Karnataka – 560075
To support, open http://www.thecatstudio.in/support/