Sudha makes it pawsible

She cares for more than 60 cats, one of them, a two-headed kitten

Usually, when you call someone, the first thing you hear is a ‘hello’, but at Sudha’s house, you’ll mostly hear cats meowing. “There’s always so much chaos in the background. That’s just how we are here and I love it,” Sudha Venkatesh said when Metrolife contacted her. 

She’s the proud owner of more than 60 cats and other foster puppies. She’s been privately taking care of and rescuing kittens off the streets for eight years now. 

Her latest addition is a two-headed kitten who is just four days old. Sudha says, “A friend of mine from Jalahalli called at night and told me about a cat that has given birth to kittens and one of them has two heads. The mother cat didn’t want to feed the baby and the people there thought it was bad luck to have a cat with two heads.”

At around 1 am, the just-born kitten was brought to Sudha’s home in Banashankari and she has been taking care of him since. 

She says, “We have regular doctors who help us take care of the cats. We have kept it isolated from others as he’s still too small to even open his eyes.” 

The mortality rate of kittens born with rare genetic mutations is very high. “We were asked to keep a close eye on him for 48 hours. He’s been responding well and we’re hoping the best for him,” Sudha says. 

The phenomenon happens when four parent cells come together as two already fertilised eggs or as two early embryos that have fused together. Barring the heads, the kitten has the same number of organs as a regular cat.

On one of the heads, the mouth is big; on the other, it is small.

Sudha and family are feeding him with a syringe. “Though he takes in food through the bigger mouth, the doctors have told us to also give two drops in the small one so that his throat stays wet. We have to feed him every 30 to 60 minutes.”

As Sudha is taking care of more than 60 cats, some of which need medical care, she’s struggling for financial help. Her family spends Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 just on food and at least Rs 80,000 for medical expenses. 

“We are a Brahmin family, so we don’t make non-vegetarian food at home. That means we need to purchase wet and dry food for the cats, which is very expensive,” says Sudha. 

She already owes Rs 3 lakh to the vendor who provides subsided food. “They are my kids, I cannot abandon them now. I look for families to adopt them but I’m always worried that they won’t take care of them as well as we do,” she says. 

Sometimes, she rescues puppies too. “There’s a lot of misconception that cats aren’t friendly. The cats we have at home get along well with everyone, including the dogs. They are toilet-trained, give high-fives and kisses. They respond to their names and understand everything we say.” 

How did it all start? 

Sudha has always been a pet-lover. About a decade ago, her daughter brought home a kitten who was in need of care. She, then, brought another one home and yet another one, soon after. 

“The ones she brought home were badly hurt and needed help. We decided to take care of them for six months before giving them away for adoption. But they became to attached to us. We decided to make this our full-time job,” shares Sudha.  

Future plans 

Sudha has two properties, one, in Devanahalli and the other, in Muddenahalli that she wishes to convert into a shelter for cats. “I need help from people to be able to take care of the cats. I will provide boarding and other facilities, including medical. I love what I do but it’s too expensive for us, as a family, to give them a good life; the life they deserve,” says Sudha. 

To meet her expenses, she has registered her activity with the Animal Welfare Board of India under the name Sudha Shelter Home. 

Who are they?

The Bangalore Cat Squad is a volunteer rescue group that tries to re-home cats and kittens.

In the past few months, they have found unusual adopters opening their doors to these cats.



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