By Akanksha Sharma
As covered in a recent article on Indspire Me, the cat adoption scene in Delhi is evolving by leaps and bounds these days. Regular Cat Adoptathons are being organized. People are leveraging the power of the internet to get the city’s many homeless cats and kittens adopted. It appears that our dog-loving city is finally waking up to the allure and charm of cats. One woman who is at least partly responsible for this change, is the brave Ms Ankita Yadav, founder of a community and network dedicated to rescuing, homing and rehabilitating cats in need- Everything Meow.
In India, cats are unfortunately still associated with stigmas and superstitions. Black cats, especially, have it worse. Considered an ill-omen by many, black cats have a hard time finding homes. There is a great need for educating and sensitizing people about cats. This is where people like Ankita come in. By using the power of social media and the internet, this trailblazer is making people aware of the awesomeness and adorableness that cats can bring into our lives.
Everything Meow: It’s not just about cute cat memes and pictures
Ankita uses the platform to share important information and cat world updates. People can also reach out to her for any cat related advice. Started in 2014, Everything Meow (henceforth EM) has now grown into a strong network of volunteers and motivated individuals. Many of these people know nothing about handling cats before joining the EM family and are now dedicated cat lovers.
As I talk with her, Ankita shares the reason that she started EM.
‘EM has two admins- Me and my cat Ghappi. Ghappi is actually the motivation and reason why EM exists. I think I can best describe it all as – one cat that changed my life. She came into my life unannounced and we instantly became the best of friends and never looked back. As my bond grew with her, as she taught me how much love one teeny tiny cat was capable of extending, I often wondered how much volume of love it will be if more cats like her were to find their way into our lives and homes.’
Juggling different hats: A full-time day job and Everything Meow
Ankita is an Editor and a Digital Media Expert. Apart from this, she’s also working on two books. How on earth does she manage to do all this and EM?
Amused by my surprise, she says ‘It just fits in naturally into my schedules because EM is something close to my heart and everyone’s passion is just a part of them. I make time while traveling, sometimes I am up at 3 am helping a cat or a human to figure out a rescue or emergency response. It just happens to fit in because this work where I see cats getting better lives, helps me to stay meaningful to myself in my life, it mends my soul. People meditate, I find time to reach out to cats out there.’
Roses and a few thorns: The Challenges of running Everything Meow
Even though Ankita always speaks positively and optimistically, I know that it’s not easy dedicating considerable time, energy and resources to Everything Meow. No wonder she was chosen as one of ‘Delhi’s Superheroes’ and was invited to speak at the TEDx Delhi platform. I encourage her to share the challenges as well.
Opening up, Ankita speaks. ‘It is an emotional challenge to sometimes see these beautiful and loving creatures cross over the rainbow bridge. At other times people’s indifference and cruelty towards them makes me wonder how low can one stoop. It is not possible to be able to help each and every cat out there because of various practical limitations though I wish I had the capacity to absorb all of them. When someone writes to me from a different city where medical facilities are limited, I feel very helpless. When the suffering of a cat is beyond human control or intervention, that also causes me a lot of sadness.’
More than 650 cats saved: The Success Stories are the best part
As a result of her efforts with EM, Ankita has helped save over 650 cats. Her all time favourite stories are where special needs cats find great humans to provide care to them. Blind cats, cats with broken jaws, paralysed cats and amputee cats usually have very bleak chances of finding homes. However, Ankita has come across some wonderful people who open up their homes and hearts to these survivors.
She shares one such story with me. ‘An injured cat was smartly caught and picked up while her hind leg was literally just hanging after she suffered a deep cut wound. She had to undergo amputation. But while it looked like she might never get adopted, she did find a human who loved her to bits and she spent the rest of her life princess size. ‘
Support and Love: The Two Ingredients that Make it all Happen
In this unconventional and noble journey of hers, Ankita has not been alone. Fortunately she has the unconditional love and support of her parents and her mentor.
I ask Ankita to share her life’s philosophy with the readers of Indspire Me. ‘Find your passion and let it kill you. Also, don’t expect life to be fair.’ She tells me succinctly.
Get connected to Everything Meow: Help the cats of Delhi and beyond
If you would like to contribute to the welfare of cats in Delhi and beyond, there are many ways, big and small, to pitch in. You can adopt a rescued cat, you can go out and help a rescuer in your locality, you can foster a cat (give them food, shelter & medical care temporarily until they find forever homes) and you can can also help foster parents with supplies as everyone has limited resources.
If you’re particularly active on social media, you can share posts from the Everything Meow Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram. You can also just offer some food and water to the strays you see around you.
If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it with your family and friends. Spread the love and help spread awareness at the same time. Stay pawesome!