Be a pussy, get a cat

Meet the rare Cat Men of Kathmandu
Monika Deupala
July 2, 2018

Rajan Gurung loved his first cat, Lucy, a gentle, loving, stray, when he was living in Singapore. But the 30-year-old interior designer had to say goodbye to his darling Lucy at a shelter when he decided to move back to Kathmandu. So he set about finding another furry friend.

“When I first came to Nepal, I was shocked by the Nepali culture that regarded cats as evil minded animals with witchcraft tricks,” Gurung says.

Dogs are labelled man’s best friend and worshipped, but cats have long been associated with the fairer sex. The older generation has relegated cats to Kathmandu’s alleys, as dogs control the streets. But there seems to be a man-powered feline uprising in our midst, signaling a possible shift from misguided stereotypes. 

Not dissuaded by Nepal’s anti-cat sentiment, Gurung’s new kitten Mimi came from Catmandu Lovers, who take in and care for the capital’s alley cats. They also find them new homes.

Shelter founder Norfaizah Ramli has looked after strays for about three years now, and believes male cat owners are not as odd as many might think.

“For some people, cat-loving males evoke a negative, and outdated, geeky stereotype, but I see these cat men as kind, deep, smart and hip,” she says.

Such a view is a change from the norm, but there is more to owning a cat than the associated labels. Gurung believes cats are intelligent, albeit sometimes messy. Having Mimi has taught him some things, namely responsibility and patience.

Gurung is not the only smart and hip chap in the valley however, as Nepali Times found two other cat-loving men who believe the stereotypes to be misguided and wrong. In fact it was the portrayal of a chiseled bad boy with a soft spot for cats in a Bollywood film that converted Shrijendra Amatya (pictured below).

The 28-year-old says the portrayal of Inder Parihaar in Bollywood film Sanam Teri Kasam gave him the idea of adopting his own cats. Amatya calls himself a ‘Cat Man’. Just as the tattooed protagonist adores his cat, Amatya does too.

Photos: Monika Deupala

“It’s like raising two babies, I have to take care of their food, litter and face their tantrums when they are not happy,” says Amatya, who runs a coffee shop. He says despite the trials of raising children, they also bring joys that babies bring.

Anjan Tamang is head chef at Sapporo Japanese restaurant, and has adopted the Japanese culture’s appreciation of cats. In Japan cats are considered godlike. Having grown up with a pet cat too, 26-year-old Tamang now has cats Leila and Luna. Hungry wee things, he loves to cook food for them – perhaps as much as he does for customers.

Along with his two adopted dogs, he has created a happy animal-friendly and mice-unfriendly environment at his restaurant. “Two dogs are outside guarding my restaurant, and cats guard my kitchen,” he says.

Rajan Gurung
Anjan Tamang

These fur babies are the lucky few to have cat daddies doting on them. But the reality is that cats are not getting love, and are left to search for food and shelter around the city. Owning pets, not just dogs, teaches us how to be better people.

Like the Cat Men of Kathmandu, we learn compassion, patience and true unconditional love. Cats are not haughty or aloof, they are just as affable and affectionate as dogs. They love you, and not just because you’re their bread winner.

Read also:

Cat man do, Pema S Lama

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