It is a big achievement for Tania Rodrigues from Sancoale whose rescued cat Stitch has qualified for the final round of PETA’s 2018 Cutest Rescued Cat Alive contest. The cat lover speaks to NT BUZZ about her adorable pets
SACHI NAIK | NT BUZZ
Rescued cat ‘Stitch’ from Goa was selected as a finalist at PETA’s 2018 Cutest Rescued Cat Alive contest. Stitch was rescued by Tania Rodrigues and her mother, Flavia five years ago. She’s part of the family, living happily in Sancoale.
Tania recalls how Stitch entered their lives. About five years ago, Tania was on her way back from school with her mother. On the highway, they noticed a lorry divert abruptly into the next lane, as if avoiding something. As they passed they noticed two kittens playing on the road. In order to get them out of danger, they halted and picked the two of them up. While keeping them in car, they noticed a kitten crying in a bush – it was Stitch.
Stitch’s siblings were adopted by kind cat lovers. However they didn’t let go of the kitten as Tania fell in love with Stitch after waking up the next morning and seeing him cuddled up in a ball next to her. “We named him Stitch because at the time we only had our dog Leo who was lonely, but when we introduced him to Stitch they became best friends. Their names sound similar to one of my favourite childhood shows ‘Lilo and Stitch’ – a show about a little girl and her pet alien dog,” Tania says.
Tania says that Stitch is a very affectionate and compassionate cat who understands when a family member is feeling sad and low, and offers comfort by crawling into their lap and sitting silently and purring. She adds: “When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and she was feeling depressed he developed a bond with her by sitting by her side and sleeping next to her at night. In the mornings he would cry until she petted him and then he’d feel satisfied and eat his breakfast.” The recent passing away of Tania’s grandmother affected Stitch quite a bit. He would sit outside her empty bedroom for hours and refuse to eat. However, now he has managed to accept her passing and has recovered.
Her rescued dog Arey Maria has developed a blossoming friendship with Stitch. Arey Maria came from an abusive home and was sold off to a neighbour because she was pregnant and the owner didn’t have an interest in her and her puppies. The neighbour brought her to a shelter and managed to find homes for all her puppies and she was left alone and childless when she was only one-year-old. “We decided to adopt her and she has developed a bond with Stitch and often treats him like her child as he is almost puppy-sized. They play together, sleep together and seek each other out,” she mentions.
17-year- old Tania says that she was taught compassion through interaction with animals from a young age. While most of the people dislike cats and complain about their stealing skills, young Tania understands that animals don’t understand the concept of give and take and are not expected to. They rely on instinct and only take what’s necessary. After all, they’re only fighting to survive with no malicious intent.
Tania is a subscriber of the PETA newsletter (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) and got to know about the contest via an email. There was an online form to be filled and submitted it along with the photo of the pet. The contest aims to convey that the kindest thing a prospective guardian can do is to rescue a cat from the streets or an animal shelter.
She says: “I have six pets: two dogs, three turtles and my cat. One rescued dog Arey Maria; English Cocker Spaniel Leo; two Red Ear Slider turtles named Ruby and Saph, while the third one is a rescued local Indian Flapshell Turtle from the rice fields, named Jade. And lastly is Stitch my rescued cat.”
Tania imparts unconditional love to animals because she believes they are pure creatures and deserve it. She doesn’t support breeders as there are plenty of animals around who deserve a chance at a better life. Every time someone buys a kitten from a breeder or a pet store, an animal from a shelter or the streets loses his or her opportunity to experience family love and care, she opines.
She urges people to turn a more compassionate gaze towards strays and animals in need of homes. Since rescued animals come with more responsibilities (such as coping up with trauma, health issues, etc.), don’t seek out animals if you are not in a place to take care of them. She advises that if anyone ever comes across an animal in need and they have no means of taking care of it, please try to find it a loving home rather than dumping it at an animal shelter wherein they’ll be mistreated or neglected.
Tania is currently pursuing her A-Levels at The European School Goa. “My life has certainly become happier because of the joy of animals around me. They have been a major part of my life and I can’t remember a time in which my family didn’t have any around us,” Now she waits for the result of PETA contest that will be announced tomorrow.