Glady is a proud mama to seven puspins [domestic shorthaired cats found in the Philippines]—Guruji, Dharma, Ekam, Guyito, Kimmy, Titus, and Xanthippe—and currently a foster pawrent to Brienne. A market research analyst and a part-time yoga instructor, she believes that her two jobs manifest certain cat-like characteristics: curiosity as a researcher; and mindfulness and calm as a yoga practitioner. Glady shares how her clowder was formed and how it grew over the years.
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Waldo’s Friends (WF): Hi Glady! Were you always a big cat lover?
Glady (G): I’ve always loved cats. I had cat friends since I was a child, but I never really got to officially adopt one since Guruji. Before Gur, I had taken care of a cat for nine years. Figaro was given to our family, but I eventually became his unofficial parent. Although he was neutered, Figaro was used to being an indoor-outdoor cat, and sadly, he just did not come home one day. That was eight years ago. It was devastating not to know what really happened to Figaro, but I eventually healed from my grief, and (though I wasn’t planning on having a new cat just yet) found Gur over a month after I lost Figaro.
WF: How did you meet Guruji and your other cats?
G: Gur was a skinny kitten whom I found lying on the sidewalk outside the yoga studio I practiced at. I thought he was sick or dying, so although I never planned on having a cat that soon, I picked him up. He started moving actively (as a two-month-old kitten is expected) as soon as we were settled in the jeepney.
I met Dharma a year later. She was a friendly kitten whom I met while walking home. I just kept talking to her and she followed me the whole block until we got to our building. She even followed me up to the elevator and to our unit. I was only planning to feed then release her, but I became so distraught over the next few days after letting her go that I looked for her again and decided to adopt her if I found her.
What I didn’t know was that she was pregnant—she gave birth to three kittens a few months after, whom I had adopted out to good homes. Ekam (or Yekkers) was one of those kittens. He was adopted by someone, but after receiving complaints of being so destructive, he was returned to me. Now, at seven years old, he is one of my sweetest cats and still acts quite kitten-like.
I found Guyito as a week-old kitten (still with his eyes closed) on the eve of Typhoon Yolanda. He was the first one I had to hand-feed, so I think he does see me as his mom. He almost did not survive his first few weeks with me—he got a terrible respiratory infection that caused him to stop nursing and gaining weight. Thankfully, he grew up to be a healthy boy, though still smaller than the others.
Gur, Dharma, Yekkers, and Guyito are collectively called the Ginger White Quartet.
Kimmy was a mom cat who gave birth at our parking area. Titus and Xanthippe (who I also call Tampipi) are her kittens, but she had a third kitten who got adopted out. These three got along so well with the rest of the cats (especially Gur, who usually just keeps to himself) that it became very hard to separate them. I collectively call them Kimmy and the Unbreakables, with all their names from the show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt that I was watching back then. I wanted them to grow up healthy and “unbreakable.”
WF: How did you end up naming your other cats?
G: My first three cats have Sanskrit/yoga-themed names. Guruji was found outside the yoga studio and his name means “teacher.” In a way, as my eldest cat, he taught me a lot of things. Dharma means “path.” She literally crossed my path when I met her. In a way, she led me to the path of being a cat mom. Ekam is Sanskrit for “one” since he was the firstborn of Dharma’s kittens. I just named the kittens “one,” “two,” and “three” because I never planned to keep them! Guyito does not have a yoga name because I didn’t plan to keep him either. I just randomly named him after the Philippine Daily Inquirer mascot whose plush toy became Guyito’s cuddle buddy on his first night home.
WF: What were the difficulties that came with adopting your cats?
G: Since all my cats came to my life unplanned, it was hard to adjust my space and resources to accommodate them all. I also had to see to it that they all received the same quality of care they had prior to having the newcomers.
WF: What makes your adopted pets unique?
G: Gur is a gentle but stern alpha cat. Everyone either respects him as their elder or kind of feels intimidated by him. Dharma is sweet and being rescued as a bigger cat, I feel she is grateful to me for giving her a home (unlike those whom I rescued younger). She is still quite a playful cat, despite being one of the oldest here. Yekkers is talkative and playful. Guyito is quiet, kind of insecure, and socially awkward. He is clingy and likes to come when called (or even just at the slightest eye contact!). Kimmy and her kittens are more bonded to the other cats than they are to me. Though a sweet boy, Titus hates being handled. Tampipi is chatty and feisty, but sweet in her own little way.
WF: What are your favorite activities with your cats?
G: They are typical cats who sleep most of the day, but they do enjoy a good teaser game! Yekkers likes to play peekaboo, while Guyito and Dharma look forward to exploring the corridors (supervised) when I open the main door. None of them are lap cats, but they like sharing my pillow or blanket when I sleep.
WF: With quite a number of cats around, how do you catproof your home?
G: There aren’t anything on display that I don’t want them to eat or destroy, especially since some of them have pica. Also, a good vacuum is very important!
WF: Do you have a special space at home reserved just for them?
G: I live alone in a condo, but having them feels like I’m really not just living for myself. The cats are pretty much free-roaming and we’re lucky to have enough room for all of them to have their own private nooks and to have containment areas if need be. It helps that all the resident cats get along (being all spayed and neutered is a huge factor here) and they have enough climbing and hiding places as well as litter boxes. However, my current foster Brienne though is not friendly with the others, so she stays in my room for now. I’m definitely at my maximum number of cats now
WF: Can you talk more about your fostering experience?
G: I first learned about the concept of fostering when I saw a feature on TV. I thought it was a good way to help out cats if you can’t adopt them permanently. My first unplanned fostering experience was with Dharma’s kittens because she happened to be pregnant when I got her and I couldn’t keep them all. I didn’t want to do it again though because while I could manage my own feelings about being separated from my fosters when it’s time to bring them to their permanent homes, I feel sad for the cats who have formed bonds and have to be separated again. Cats are pretty sensitive creatures and get stressed at even the slightest change. I want to expose them to as little stressful situations as possible.
Fostering is hard. I’ve successfully adopted out a few cats to good homes, but it’s a combination of effort and luck. In a way, Guyito was a foster fail too! I planned on getting him adopted after he was weaned, but since he got sick for a while, I had to wait until he recovered 100%. While growing up, I was still worried about his other health issues so I decided to keep him.
As for my former fosters who are now living with their forever homes, it feels fulfilling to find people who will care for as much if not more than I would for them.
WF: What’s the best pet parenting tip you can give to people with multiple cats like you?
G: The hardest part of having a multiple cat household is monitoring their health. Cats are known to instinctively hide their illnesses, so a heightened sensitivity to any change in their behaviour is important to make sure they get treatment before they get worse. Personally, I make sure everyone gets equal attention even by just simply saying all their names when I leave the house or retire at night.
When living with cats, you eventually get better at deciphering their behaviour. They are such complicated creatures and each one is unique. It’s particularly hard when one or some of them just suddenly change their eating behaviour and the vet can’t find anything physically wrong. You have to think back at minor changes around the house that made them behave strangely so that you can address them.
Inevitably, some sacrifices like personal luxuries have to be made, especially when there are unexpected expenses such as when they get sick.
WF: After going through an outbreak, do you have any tips on how to deal when multiple cats get sick?
G: Prevention is always better than cure. I have taken all known precautions (including vaccinations against common viruses), but sometimes, it still happens. That was my first time dealing with an outbreak—a respiratory infection that was highly communicable—and having multiple cats hospitalized. In which case, early intervention is super important because if I had waited longer before they got treated, it would have resulted in worsening symptoms and more expenses.
I was lucky to have been armed with knowledge when this happened to us. Being a member and administrator of a secret online cat care community, cases like this have been experienced by other fur parents, so I learned indirectly from what they shared.
WF: Why would you personally encourage adopting and fostering animals?
G: There are so many homeless animals in need of homes out there, it really makes no sense to breed and buy. Plus, their unique personalities and stories of how they have come into your life is part of what makes them special.
All cats are beautiful regardless of breed. I hope more people will be open to adopting street or shelter cats and see beyond their initial appearance. People are sometimes surprised that my cats are puspins because they are big and cute, but I always tell them that they didn’t start out that way. They became more beautiful (as all cats will) because someone cares for them.
Follow the adventures of Glady’s lovable puspins or follow her Instagram account devoted to ginger white cats.
Read more rescue stories here! Do you know of an interesting pet adoption, foster, or rescue story? Share your suggestion with us by commenting below!
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