If you meet little Marshall, a lovely white cat with patches of grey here and there, it would not take you long to fall in love with him. It is impossible to imagine that not more than a year ago, he was discovered on the streets counting hours to death, with one side of his face gorily injured and infected by maggots. With endless open wounds all over the body, it needed weeks of constant treatment, medication and care for him to purr once again. His rescuers, the dedicated volunteers at Cat Cafe Studio, were in despair, but feisty Marshall proved them all wrong by becoming this meowing, jumping, cuddly ball of fur.
About Cat Cafe Studio
Marshall is one among the thirty to forty stray cats currently housed in Cat Cafe Studio in Versova, Mumbai. Amidst the cacophony of the sleepless city, this cosy piece of heaven offers you coffee with the company of the cutest little cats. The founders of this first-of-its-kind coffee shop in India also run a non-profit foundation that rescues hundreds of helpless cats from the verge of death.
“A lot of them are amputees, some are partially or completely blind or even paralysed, but they are the most loving creatures you will ever come across,” shares co-founder Charu Khosla with Efforts For Good.
Hundreds of stray cats have been rescued
Since 2008, sisters Mriidu and Charu Khosla and their friend Jason Moss have been actively rescuing stray cats from in and around Mumbai. Injured, sick or born with disabilities, these kittens had little hopes of survival in the brutal world where they were treated as ‘undesirable’. The trio nurtured them with 24X7 supervision and raised them to recovery. “In a few years, we were fostering over a hundred cats. We approached our friends, family members and relatives to adopt them but it was not long before we ran out of space to contain all of them,” shares Charu Khosla with Efforts For Good, while talking about the launch of Cat Cafe Studio.
“We were running an independent creative agency before, and we used to keep the cats inside our office rooms, balconies and everywhere. That was when Mriidu pitched an alternative solution,” she shares.
The concept of keeping cats in cafes, restaurants and other public places was already popular in Europe, Japan and America. Mriidu Khosla proposed the idea of creating a similar space in their very own city, which incidentally, turned out to be the first in India.
Cat tales that melt your heart
Started in 2015, Cat Cafe Studio shelters these feeble felines and offers them up for adoption to caring families. Till they find their foster parent(s), the cats warm up the homely interiors of Cat Cafe Studio, where an increasing number of visitors are dropping in every day to have a tête-à-tête with the kitties.
“We started from the small balcony of our office space. Initially, we offered coffee and snacks for free as our sole aim was to get our cats adopted by pet lovers,” shares Charu.
A few years ago, Mriidu and Jason found a kitten lying motionless in the middle of the road, after being hit by a car. Upon a closer inspection, they found the cat to be severely injured, but still alive. Hours of emergency surgeries later, the cat could be saved from the brink of death. “Phoenix is now all grown up into a beautiful cat and has also been adopted,” informs Charu.
Salem is another one of the miracles at Cat Cafe Studio. Pitch black in colour, he was completely paralysed in all limbs. Yet he happened to be the nicest and had his own unique way of communicating with his eyes and meows. “It’s a wonder, but, even he was adopted into an amazing family in Bangalore,” she shares.
They are trusting ‘hoomans’ again
Phoenix, Salem, Marshall, Giselle, Louis, Ciel, Riya, Veronica, George and all others have their own share of scarring memories, to the extent where most of them were extremely afraid of the slightest human touch. But, now in Cat Cafe Studio, they have warmed up and opened themselves to trusting ‘hoomans’ again. They will most likely be found playing around, brushing their tails against you asking for a petting session or simply napping on your lap.
The Feline Foundation
Amongst all other things, the Cat Cafe Studio offers an extensive range of beverages, snacks and finger foods as well.
“Every penny of our profits is entirely contributed to The Feline Foundation for rescue, treatment and imminent care of more and more cats every day,” informs Charu. In fact, the foundation also takes care of stray dogs who are in dire need of help.
The cats are open for adoption, however, to ensure the poor, little, rescued ones never have to undergo any more struggles, the willing individuals are interviewed and asked to interact with the cat they have selected. So far, all the adopted ones are loved, nurtured and cared beyond limits.