Published: 29th January 2018
Is your cat home alone? Mumbai's 'Guardian of the Purr' can keep them company
Want to go away for the weekend, but wondering who will take care of your cat? If you are in Mumbai, then these 25-year-old pet lovers are just what you need
It's always a tough call for a pet parent to leave their furry feline alone while they go out, even for a day. But now, a lucky few in Mumbai can do that without hesitation, thanks to Guardian of the Purr, a service set-up by two 25-year-olds, Yashashree Kale and Mehar Chumble, who will take care of your cat(s) in your absence.
Mehar, who had a cat for ten years and Kale, who has two years of experience under her belt, started ‘cat-sitting’ in July 2017. They now have over 40 families in Mumbai that trust them with their beloved cats and the duo can't be happier. And we're not surprised.
For Yashashree, every cat is special. "Once I befriend the cats, I can never forget them. I can recall the names of all the 200 cats I have taken care of," she says. We caught up with the duo to find out more about them. Excerpts from the interview:
How did you come up with the idea?
Mehar: We have cats at home, actually a bunch of pets. We have faced issues when we leave our pets and go out. I think that gave us the idea to take care of other people's cats when they aren't around. Moreover, Yashashree was working with Cat Café Studio where she used to take care of them and help them get adopted. Even after she left, she wanted to work with cats. So, yeah, it was pretty much a shot in the dark.
Stress buster: Kale's idea of a good weekend is to befriend a new cat. True story!
What's so special about cats?
Mehar: Many people do not adopt pets because they keep travelling. Cats, unlike dogs, do not require a lot of care. They just need to be fed and need a clean environment to live in. They do not want you around all the time. So, when people are travelling, we spend a little time with the cats and they will be fine for the rest of the day. Basically, it is easier and personally more fulfilling to take care of cats.
And what about your day jobs?
Yashashree: We are both doing our own thing. Mehar is into freelance music production and I am a consultant whose job is client-based. Therefore, our work timings are quite flexible. Cat-sitting is more of a part-time thing that we enjoy doing. We are looking to expand, but we are only looking for people who genuinely want to do this and who have knowledge about the animal.
Priorities set: "Who needs WiFi when you have these two," asks Kale!
Okay, so what's your day like?
Yashashree: Well, today I went to Pawai, took care of a cat and then I came back. I then went to Jogeshwari to give a cat its insulin shot. Next, I need go to Colaba for some other work. Mehar will be going to Bandra in the evening to cat-sit. Then, I might have to go back to Jogeshwari for another cat-sitting assignment.
But isn't travelling in Mumbai a nightmare?
Mehar: Yes, travelling does take a toll on us sometimes, but it's not like we have any other option. Honestly, it is okay. This is what we love to do, so it doesn't matter. However, while we expand, we will designate people from that area who can cat-sit. Some places are really far off and that make us question whether we should take up those projects or not, but we can proudly say that we have not refused any calls till now.
For how long have you known each other?
Mehar: We studied in the same college and after three years of knowing each other, we started this project.
How many assignments do you take up in a day?
Yashashree: I take up to four assignments, while Mehar takes up one or two assignments in a day.
You allow people to enjoy their weekends. But what about yours?
Mehar: We are not very outgoing people anyway. We don't like to party as such. Our weekend fun involves meeting new people and being around pets. That is out stressbuster.
Is this just a hobby or do you get to fill your pockets?
Mehar: The client takes care of the travelling cost, obviously. Apart from that, we have various packages that are extremely subjective, depending on the client and the area they live in. To give you a rough idea, we charge `400-500 for an hour.
But why no dogs?
Yashashree: They need to be taken for a walk and one needs to spend a lot more time with them. We would love to do it in the future, but the reason we are not doing this is because a dog would require relationship-building and that will take a day at least. It is a commitment that we cannot give as of now, so it won't be fair to the animals or their owners.