My family and I have always been animal lovers. We have enjoyed keeping dogs and cats all our lives. We even kept chickens, rabbits, birds and squirrels. It won’t be possible to name all pets we’ve kept but I’ll list just the most significant ones:
- Peperica – Our jet black Cocker Spaniel (dog) who lived with us for about 14 years in every city we moved to. We sometimes called her Pepu Khan because she was really a part of our family.
- Muffin – Our Persian deaf cat who has been with my sister for about 8 years now.
- Kungfoo – Our Persian cat who was a dwarf and was Muffin’s grandson. He died at the age of 2 due to kidney failure.
- Goldu – Our Garfield looking orange cat in Quetta who had jumped off the roof once and kinda lost his mind.
- Hunter & Trapper – Two puppies we kept in Karachi Masroor as they kind of adopted us.
- Lucky – Our Russian-ish dog in Sargodha who bit Nataliya once.
- Sandy – Our Alsatian-ish dog in Sargodha who adopted us.
- Gloves – It was my cat in Islamabad who I had adopted. She was jet black and had white paws and nose.
- Paddle Pop – It was a colourful cat who was related to Gloves (I’ve forgotten how).
- Sweetie – Our cat in Islamabad who we took with us to Sargodha and back to Islamabad.
- Elmo & Gizmo – Two Siamese cats we kept in Karachi. Elmo died of stomach issue and Gizmo refused to travel to Karachi as my sister tried to pull her out but she just wouldn’t let go so she had to be left behind in Karachi.
- Nemo – Our naughtiest Siamese kitten Nemo who was a terror and would behave like Superman and break everything we had and was always on a mission to bite and scratch us. She once attacked my foot. Pretty aggressive.
- Cyam – Our fat Siamese cat who lived with us in Wah. He was very cuddly and disappeared once. We put posters everywhere but never found him.
- Buppy – A Spaniel mix who could never be potty trained.
- Tessa – A Spaniel mix who was so athletic that she could cross any height of fences. She loved biting everyone in our neighbourhood.
- Magic – Huge golden Labrador in Islamabad recently.
Our pets have always had their unique personalities and mood swings just like all of us. It’s amazing how each animal has its own unique personality traits. Many of our friends never understand how we communicate with our animals and know how they’re feeling. We don’t always know what is on their mind but we can mostly tell what they want. They always make it very clear to us.
Conversations with animals
One of my best friends Silky Kohli once asked me ‘how can you talk to a cat or a baby? You know they can’t understand you right? I replied:
‘Animals may not know our language, but they understand exactly what we’re saying to them. They understand our tone, expressions and gestures. They look into our eyes and know our mood’
She was intrigued by my answer. I have grown up in a family who communicates with humans and animals alike. We often talk to wild animals we see outdoors. We never questioned ourselves about why we talk to them. It has just always been something that’s done.
Our pets always seem to like it that way. I remember one of our cats Cyam was an adorably fat Siamese cat who would talk back to us. Yes whenever we would talk to him, he would reply to us in his cat language.
If we spoke a long sentence, he would reply in a long sentence too. We never really understood what he said but it was something in his cat language. It was too cute.
One of our cats Sweetie would say nom-nom-nom when she was having something she loved. Our cat Snow White would make a sigh sound every time our mama would hug her tightly. It was her way of saying: ‘Oh there she goes again’.
A funny incident
Unique habits of pets
- Muffin has this incredibly insane hair obsession. He loves sniffing long hair. He will sit on a girls shoulder and sniff her hair for hours literally. He will smell our hair, pull hair ends with his paws and close his eyes as if its something divine.
- Cyam was obsessed with sucking clothes. He would literally sit on our stomach and suck all our clothes wet. It was gross but he was such a baby.
- Our Cocker Spaniel Peperica was literally mama’s shadow. She would follow her wherever she would go. On the contrary, she would always go to my sisters brand new wooden floor corner and pee there for some odd reason we never ever understood. And then my sister would be running after Peperica and yelling ‘Oh no, not again’. It was a hilarious sight actually. Not so much for her though.
She wasn’t the only one who hated Peperica because of this. Our front door neighbour actually used to yell ‘I’ll kill you with a bullet’ as Peperica would wait till the gate was opened and she would run to their house and do all her business in their nicely kept garden.
- Our Springer Spaniel-ish Tessa was such an athlete. No matter how high the fence was, she would always high jump and cross it. It was actually impossible to trap her anywhere. She loved biting people in our neighbourhood. Once a young boy was coming back from the Naan shop and swinging away his packet of naans while skipping and singing on the road. Tessa ran after him, poor soul started running and shouting. His naans and slippers flew and fell on the road and he escaped. Poor boy must’ve been so scared but OMG I got such a laughing fit after witnessing the scene. It was really hilarious.
We feel very strongly about kindness towards stray animals. We have often stopped our car in various parts of the country and given a piece of our mind to children and grownups who are being mean and nasty with animals.
Sadly, we have witnessed a group of people hitting a poor wild bore with sticks. To our shock, the people around were encouraging that inhumane person. I asked my driver to stop the car right there. I ran to the scene and gave those people hell.
Once in Karachi at the beach, we were just sitting and enjoying family time when I heard a dogs cry. It was a limping dog and I saw that someone was throwing stones at him. I was extremely furious, ran to the spot and shouted on the top of my lungs at a bearded man who was sitting there with his wife in burqah. I felt a little bad as he must have been thrice my age but what he did was unforgivable. I just hope I made him think a little about his actions.
It is a common scene on roads where travellers on donkey-carts are hitting donkeys with sticks to make them walk faster. I have often seen badly injured donkeys struggling for their lives with a heavy burden on their back and they’re being hit like that. It really breaks my heart to see such scenes.
I have often seen kids running after stray cats, stoning them or teasing them with sticks. I once stopped my car in F-10 as soon as I saw a little boy indulged in such an act. I put my window down, honked and yelled at him ‘What are you doing? Don’t do that!’. He was puzzled, looked at me and assured me that he isn’t hitting anyone else. He is only hitting a cat‘.
‘How would you feel if you were treated the way you treat animals?’
Animals & society
I believe an animals personality speaks volumes about the people in that society. If you want to know what kind of people reside in any society, just observe its animals. If they’re shy and scared, means people are nasty and mean. If they’re confident and friendly means people are kind.
Generally, in Pakistan, wild animals are either too shy and unfriendly or they are ferocious. That is proof that as a society we are not kind. We are cruel to animals.
When I was in Sri Lanka, wildlife was so friendly. Squirrels would come, sit in our laps, wild dogs would accompany us on walks. Land monitors would come and sit with us and sunbathe. Even their elephants were friendly and not afraid of human beings.
This gives such a good impression of a nation which is kind to weaker mammals. It is completely wrong thinking that a person is defending one’s self by hitting them.
An animal never threatens or bites a person unless it is threatened by a human. Let’s stop threatening animals, be kind to them and you will never be threatened by one again.
Today a cat sleeping on a seat in Daewoo station prompted me to write this post. I was so happy to see that no one was bothered about the cat. The cat seemed so happy.
That’s all animals need. The space to do what they want. All they want is love. And that no one hits or pushes them away. Is that too much to ask for?
Why can’t everybody just mind their own business and never be nasty to animals around them? Live and let live. Hats off to foundations like Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation and PAWS (Pakistan Animal Welfare Society) who are making an effort and raising awareness against cruelty to animals.
I would love to know about other organizations who are creating such awareness or doing something for the welfare of animals. Please let me know if you know about any?
Only when we give our pets space and are kind to them can we expect them to be themselves. That’s when they show us their personality. If an animal is shy and avoiding humans, it is mostly a sign that it’s not being treated well.
Like humans, animals also have distinct personality traits. Some are introvert. Some are extrovert. However, only if we let them be, we can see what they’re really like. I would say that life is so much better with pets. They’re fluffy and adorable and make our days so much brighter.
Let us all join hands and make sure we are kind to animals. Let no animal suffer in this world. Let’s make this world a joyful and peaceful place for humans and animals.