“It’s a great place for the leisurely life of a cat. The meal service is a little slow on occasion, but the waitress has some potential.”
This is Sini Mulari’s interpretation of the thought processes of Sontse and her female kittens, Leleka and Svitlo.
“When I came home from work today, the cats were staring at me with a disapproving look, wondering why their dinner hadn’t been served yet. After eating, they eyed me as if to say, “Get us something better next time”,” says Sini with a laugh.
Right now, the kittens have time to rest for a while before the 7 p.m. zoomies. However, they seem to be full of energy already. Leleka examines the photographer’s camera somewhat violently.
“During their evening zoomies, the kittens chase a toy butterfly, wrestle and climb around. I try to have some control over their activities so that they don’t get too rough.”
After the evening zoomies, the kittens go through night-time zoomies and early-morning zoomies.
Those go unnoticed by Sini who, by then, is already asleep in the other room, wearing earplugs.
The start of a new life
Sontse, Leleka and Svitlo belong to the animal welfare society Dewi ry and are fostered by Sini. When the kittens reach 16 months in October, the society will find them a permanent home.
“Sontse was captured from a group of wild cats in the countryside. She was pregnant, and Leleka and Svitlo were born here in my apartment,” explains Sini.
According to Sini, feral and rapidly multiplying cat populations are a major issue in places.
“If the cat has not been neutered, it must not be allowed outdoors without a leash,” says Sini.
Sontse is a teenage mum, probably less than a year old and born in the wild. She is now learning to coexist with people. As we speak, Sontse is peering out into the room from a hole between the sofa and the bench.
“The cats’ names are Ukrainian, as a small symbol of solidarity. Sontse means ‘sun’, Svitlo refers to ‘light’ and Leleka means ‘stork’.”
Doing some good
This is not the first time Sini has looked after cats. An active member of Dewi ry, she has lived in her current one-bedroom Lumo home in Lemminkäisenkatu 17 in Turku’s Vasaramäki for a little over a year. During that time, she has had 1–3 foster cats living with her at all times.
With her previous homes combined, Sini has fostered an impressive 43 cats over the past six years.
“At first, I wanted to get a pet of my own. But then I started thinking that I could do some good by offering a foster home to cats in need.”
According to Sini, the cats have also done her good.
“It feels nice to have someone waiting for you at home. Cats are very sociable creatures. And it’s so much fun to watch them live their goofy lives.”
When the cats find their permanent homes, she feels a little melancholy but, above all else, joyful.
“The new owners usually contact me later to let me know how the cats are doing.”
Sini finds Lemminkäisenkatu 17 a very pet-friendly building.
“There are no restrictions on the number of cats, for example.”
Sometimes, people can be a little prejudiced about foster cats.
“However, cats are perfect for apartment buildings because they are very tidy. Even if they were born in the wild, they immediately know to do their business in the litter box. And even their early-morning zoomies aren’t loud enough to disturb the neighbours.”
Sini is also pleased with the great location of her apartment.
“The centre of Turku and my workplace are nearby. I can see the Vasaramäki park from my window. Sontse, Leleka and Svitlo like to watch the people in the park and the birds outside.”
Sini is a foster mum but also a schoolteacher. The kittens are quite famous among her pupils.
“One day, I accidentally placed the children’s essays where the kittens could reach them. Suddenly, the papers were all wrinkly, and some even had bite marks.”
The teacher returned the essays with apologies and took copies of the most damaged ones.
“There’s the classic excuse used by schoolchildren: “The dog ate my homework.” Well, now it was the teacher’s turn to explain that the cat had eaten their essays,” says Sini with a laugh.
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