When coming to the Ashram feels like a Trip to a huge Zoo – 20 Oct 15

If you come to visit us at our Ashram in India, you will meet a lot of animals. Not pets, no – wild ones. It is like a huge zoo!

That’s what we sometimes joke around with! You sit in our garden and can of course watch birds and butterflies but also monkeys and cute chipmunks. You go out to town and walk by street dogs, wild pigs, cows and goats, everything roaming around completely free. You get to see horses, donkeys and the occasional camel as well – but these are usually pulling carts or carrying material in bags on their back. You practically cannot walk through our town without having to sidestep for a cow at least once, as they are just walking around everywhere! That’s a sight you don’t get to see every day, right?

Even if you just sit in your room, you may see an animal you are not used to seeing at home! Once, a guest at the Ashram came down to us, very excited on her first day here. She was out of breath from running down the stairs and had to catch it first before she could tell us, breathing heavy in between words: ‘There is a baby crocodile in my room!’ Oh, we were shocked as well! We walked upstairs with her, carefully opened the door to look up where she pointed towards the ceiling and – see a lizard sitting there peacefully! Well, if you have never seen a gecko, you may take it for a baby reptile of the bigger kind!

While you definitely don’t need to be afraid of the lizards, you may want to be more careful with the monkeys! They are naughty thieves and in the center of our town they have developed a rather annoying habit: they steal glasses from people’s noses! With these in the hands, they hop onto the next wall. In order to help you get your glasses back, someone throws a biscuit or juice packet at the monkey. The animal drops the glasses to catch the offered food – and you are normally happy enough to give your helper a generous sum for getting your glasses back as well! A win-win situation!

With the monkeys out here at the Ashram we usually don’t need to take such good care of our glasses but rather of our garden, as they use it as their playground, swinging on branches until they break. They are however quite cute to look at – and you are normally fine if you just leave them alone, then they won’t care about you either.

Recently, we had a lady at the Ashram who loved animals above everything and seeing the street dogs outside, she wanted to help them. It was not easy but finally she found a shop that sold dog food. Proudly, she left the shop, the big bag in her hands. She stopped at the next place where several dogs were walking around, opened her bag and put some on the floor for them to eat. This was the day that we found out: Vrindavan’s street dogs don’t like dog food! It was the monkeys and the pigs who ate it in the end!

Finally, I remember a guest who was in one way unique until this day: she was afraid of the chipmunks in our garden! They are the shyest of animals and they are super cute! They are used to picking up the remainders of people’s food, the crumbs that fall down. They pick them up in their tiny paws and nibble on them. Now this woman was sitting in the courtyard with a plate and one of the chipmunks was approaching, expecting a few crumbs to fall down. The lady shooed it away with a move of her leg. Easily scared, the chipmunk ran in a circle around her. Our guest heard a noise behind her and must have thought the chipmunk had sneaked around her to attack her from behind! She jumped up, shrieked and ran in! Obviously, our staff immediately came running, thinking they would have to fend off a big monkey – but looking at the tiny and definitely scared chipmunk staring at them from behind the tree, we all had to laugh! Even our guest!

So if you feel like going to an exotic zoo and having a hands-on experience, our Ashram may be just the right place for you!

Dogs like Vagina only with Chocolate Cream – 11 Aug 14

I have a friend here in Germany who told me a great story which made me laugh like crazy. We have laughed about it for several years already now, sharing it with friends and many people – and of course remembering it and laughing again. The best part of the story is: it is completely true and real!

It was the birthday of my friend’s friend. He himself was not in town but their common friends asked the birthday girl what they would do on her birthday. She was not in the mood to invite people or go out for a party, so she said, she would just have a normal, quiet evening at home. Her friends however wanted to celebrate! So they planned a surprise party. One of them had a key for her flat – perfect!

It was a normal working day and they all knew when she would be back home from work. So eight of her friends – men and women – sneaked into her flat with some party food and drinks. They had even brought something for her small dog that accompanied her nearly everywhere she went!

She lived in a one-bedroom-apartment with a living room that included an open kitchen. All eight friends found places to hide the things they had brought and themselves as well! They were behind the curtains, in her cupboard, under the dining table and behind some plants. She should not be able to notice them when she got in!

And she didn’t! When she turned the key in the hole, everyone stood or sat very still and there was no noise to be heard except the dog’s happy panting. He jumped around her legs when she set down her work bag and started unbuttoning her jacket. The friends had wanted to wait with coming out of their hiding places until she had sat down and relaxed. She took them by surprise though: she didn’t stop with taking off her jacket! After the jacket, she opened her belt and one by one dropped each of her pieces of clothing on the floor until she was completely naked.

Watched by her friends, whom the shock had frozen into place by now, she then walked into the kitchen area. She grabbed a jar of Nutella, a popular chocolate-hazelnut spread, and returned to the sofa. She sat down, opened the jar and used her finger to take out a generous amount. It didn’t go in her mouth though! She straight away placed her hand in between her legs and spread the chocolate cream on her vagina! The dog, who had all the time been wiggling around her legs, now placed his paws on the sofa and started licking the Nutella off her vagina!

Ah, what the friends in their hiding places must have been feeling while watching her receive this treatment with pleasure! We can only imagine at what point they finally decided to awkwardly step out from behind curtains or crawl out from under tables!

The birthday girl actually left not only this flat and that town, but the country and even the continent after this incident. I heard she settled down in Australia – but I don’t know whether she took her dog along!


Two Zoos and a Beach – Highlights while travelling in Germany – 17 Jun 13

Today it is time again for a report on what we have been doing here on our holiday in Germany.

There is absolutely no doubt that meeting so many different animals is a continuous highlight for Apra on her first journey in her mother’s country. The last time I wrote to you about our stay here, I told you that we were about to go to an animal park together with Andrea. We went there, in Luneburg, and went yesterday again, this time in Munich. Both times we had a wonderful day and Apra simply loved it!

Both parks were beautifully made, the animals had big spaces to walk and jump in and one often felt as though one was walking in a normal forest and on natural paths as the designer of the parks had taken care to include lots of nature, to have many trees and keep natural surroundings for both, animals and visitors. Of course, this is a great thing for the adults – kids like Apra just enjoy running around and from one animal to the next! She had so much fun seeing all her favourite animals: monkeys, lions, bears, pigs, elephants, donkeys, all kinds of birds, rabbits and also some animals new to her like ice-bears. She stared at them and marveled at their real size, having only seen them in her books or the internet. She laughed, screamed of joy, and took in so many new impressions that she even forgot to sleep during midday when she normally gets tired.

The best thing in both places was undoubtedly however the goats. Incredible that of all animals this would be the one that brings most joy, isn’t it? But it is true, because we could touch them and feed them. They were separately in an area where visitors could buy food for them and stroke the goats while feeding them. In Luneburg we actually fed them while in Munich Apra ran from one to the other, excited to touch them all. When she had stroked most of them, she had another idea – she walked to each of them, looked into their faces, which sometimes meant that she bent down to a sitting one, giving a very cute pose, and told them into the face ‘Goat!’ – it was hilarious!

We are very happy that the weather was generously sunny and warm and we just couldn’t keep ourselves from giving Apra another great experience: we went to the beach at the Baltic Sea together with Andrea and Michael. The moment Apra’s feet touched the sand, she got excited and soon sat there, playing with the sand, completely busy in her game. How happy a child can get just by this! Yashendu then took her along into the water, too, holding her and dipping her feet into the water again and again which made her scream of excitement and joy! The beach has a special atmosphere which is always amazing for young and old!

We had a great time with Andrea and Michael and then came once more to the South of Germany for another visit to Ramona’s father and family. We spent wonderful days here, too, and I believe I cannot count the many lovely people whom we have met in the complete past week. Regina and Celina came to visit us at the beach and in Luneburg, several other friends came for dinner, we visited Michael’s and Andrea’s parents, Ramona met her school friends and yesterday we were with her aunt and cousins as well as her cousin’s baby at the zoo.

You can see, we are staying busy on our holiday and keep enjoying great experiences with Apra and the world around her. Now we are in the train, on the way to Wiesbaden and have another week ahead of us before we will fly back home to India again. Another week full of adventures with Thomas, Iris and friends who will come to visit!

See pictures of Apra's journey through Germany

Apra’s Animal Fun in Germany – 7 Jun 13

Last Friday we arrived well in Erkelenz where we stayed with our long-time friends Sonja, Peter and their daughter Carolin. We had a stay that was full of animals – and thus perfect for our little Apra who loves anything that has paws, fur or even claws.

Carolin had already been looking forward to play with Apra and she was a perfect playmate! She took our girl to see their three cats and a visit to the cats with either Sonja or Carolin became the best medicine for any kind of problem or boredom Apra faced. It was the first time that she saw cats from that close and the first time that she could stroke them. She was so excited that she shouted and squeaked in happiness which promptly made two of three cats run away. The oldest one stayed however and patiently endured Apra’s excited touch. He sniffed on her hand which amused her very much. So much that she grabbed both his ears and sniffed right back into his face!

The cats were not the only animals though! The weather had finally got better and so we could go out into the courtyard and the garden where she found lots of them. There were stone lions, a stone hedgehog, a stone duck, a stone frog and stone cats, too! She ran from one to the other, fed them all with earth and grass and talked to them. One day we even saw how she joined her hands in front of her chest in the typically Indian greeting pose and said ‘Namaste’ to one of the cat statues!

There was a surprise waiting for us in the backyard! Sonja and her family have a big meadow in the back of the garden and instead of mowing it themselves, they have sheep over from time to time to eat all the grass off! There were seven sheep and it was Apra’s biggest delight every day to feed bread and carrots to them. Of course our talkative girl did not stay silent there, either! Whenever they said ‘Maah’, she replied them with a big ‘Maaaaaah!’ One day she decided that the bread for the sheep looked delicious and started eating it herself. There she was, standing in front of the sheep who all stared at the bread in her hand that went repeatedly into her own mouth. She looked back and then suddenly started shouting the first line of an Indian children’s rhyme at them. They were not impressed but our baby girl was happy!

In the beautiful weather we also had the chance to go to the street fair which was taking place in Erkelenz. There were lots of things to marvel at for Apra. The roller coasters, so many people, the balloons, the stuffed animals, people’s dogs and other children. We chose one of the rides for small children, Apra chose the elephant to sit in and we enjoyed the trip! We had some ice-cream and in the end even bought a balloon in the shape of a zebra. Our baby was happy – and of course we, too!

We had one small accident though: we lost her sunglasses. She had small sunglasses which we took along but somewhere in the crowd they got lost. That was the first thing that we bought when we were here in Luneburg because she saw all of us in sunglasses and asked for hers!

Andrea and Michael had been looking forward to spend time with us, too, already. With the wonderful weather there is so much to do! We have been to the market to buy fresh vegetables, visited playgrounds, ate ice-cream, fed bread to ducks, chicken and a peacock and will go to an animal park today. We are making plans for the next days and already know that whenever we will be at home, Apra will run around the garden shouting ‘Joooooy!’ – the name of Andrea’s cat who mostly prefers running away from Apra…

See pictures of Apra's time in Germany

When we had Cows at the Ashram – 2 Dec 12

In 2005 the Ashram still looked very different from how it is today. The main surprise for visitors who came in that time was most probably that they entered through our gate, walked up the sand path towards our main, unpainted building – and had to stop because there was a cow standing in their way. Yes, we had cows at the Ashram in that time, twenty of them.

It is very normal here in Vrindavan and in many parts of India to keep a cow if you have the space for it. Of course you need to take care of the cow, which means quite some extra work, but in exchange you will have milk and can make butter, yoghurt and ghee out of it. Cow dung is dried and used for making fire over which you cook and many houses have a floor of dried cow dung mixed with earth. Additionally – and probably because they are so precious – cows are considered holy here and many people like to care for cows for receiving blessing. It is considered a good deed to keep cows.

When we had been living in our house in town we obviously did not have the possibility or space to keep cows but after I had gone into the cave and my brothers had started permanently living at the Ashram, they bought two cows. When I came out of the cave, it was twelve or thirteen and the number rose until there were finally twenty happy cows enjoying the lawn in our Ashram garden.

Taking care of one cow is quite some work – taking care of twenty cows is a full-time job! They want to be fed, they want to be milked, they have to be cleaned and inspected and watched for any signs of illness. In winter you need to make sure they are not cold and in summer you need to take care that they have enough water to drink in the heat and maybe arrange for some shadow for them. It is a lot of work and as we ourselves did not have the time to do all of this, we employed a man to take care of our cows.

He was a man from the neighbourhood who was regularly walking by the Ashram. One could see in his face and with his behavior that he was mentally challenged but when he offered that he could do this job, Purnendu agreed to give it a try. It turned out to be the best thing we could have done for the cows. He was the most caring and reliable caretaker of these cows. He never forgot to give them food or water, he kept them clean and simply took care of them as other people take care of themselves. When it came to his own care however, one could notice his mental state. We took care of him, fed him and gave him clothes. One day in winter however, he took all his clothes off except for his underwear, put them all on one pile and set fire on them. Instead of using the wood, which was burned every day and which was lying ready next to him, only meant for this purpose, he set his clothes on fire. Then he sat next to this fire and warmed his body. This happened two or three times but he was such a good and kind person that we simply decided to give him more clothes – and let him be as he was. For the cows, it was definitely for the best.

Probably the most memorable and most beautiful event that we had with our cows was the birth of a small calf at the Ashram. Witnessing this miracle of how a life is born was just amazing. There were helpers, in case the mother cow would need support, but she did most of the process on her own. After the calf was born, she licked it off from top to bottom – such a wonderful scene, full of love!

When we started building the Ashram further however, we knew we would not have as much green and free space for our cows though. That was the point when we decided to give them to a gaushala, a cow house or farm, where they would be well taken care of and from where we would then get their milk. Our cowherd went with them – this was what he did with passion and what filled his life.

Whenever I now tell people that in 2005 there had still been 20 cows walking around exactly where they are now doing yoga, lying in the grass or doing their meditation in the garden, our visitors are surprised and laugh. It is hard to imagine but it was a very different scene here back in 2005…

Why do you have wild Animals and Reptiles as Pets? – 5 Jul 11

Yesterday I wrote about breeding of pets and said that it was a matter of the keeper’s and the breeder’s ego. People are proud if they have a pet that is in any way special – if it wins contests and competitions, if it looks better, greater, and cuter or also, if it is not common in your country, an animal that is rarely seen in people’s living rooms. There are all kinds of exotic pets that people decide to keep in their home.

Some people have snakes and other reptiles such as iguanas or chameleons. We have taken the picture that you see above with a hidden camera in a pet shop where these animals were for sale. Someone is obviously interested in buying such reptiles. Others like it wilder and have foxes or even big cages with dangerous animals like tigers and lions.

In these cases I can tell you for sure, that these animals are not kept in an appropriate way. It is practically impossible to do that! You cannot provide a snake its jungle and you cannot give a tiger hundreds of miles to run daily. There is no way to keep these animals really well, because they don’t belong in your house. They often don’t even belong to your climate and you have to keep the reptiles in a heated terrarium! Why do people want to have a wild snake for a pet? In my opinion, if you really love them, you don’t put them into a tiny box for your entertainment or for you to show them off!

Another reason can be the wish to tame a wild animal. To feel the power over an animal, to have it at your command and to know how to deal with nature’s biggest forces. This is the fascination of people when they go to see wild animal shows in a circus. They like to see how one small human person can make six or eight tigers or lions do what he orders them to do.

It doesn’t matter however in which way you tame a tiger, it will remain a wild animal and it will remain a tiger while you are human. I was told of a pair of magicians, Germans by origin but living in America, Siegfried and Roy. They had tamed white tigers and in 2003, during one of their magic shows, which included the tigers, Roy fell and the tiger, in a wish to protect his friend, took him by the neck to drag him away. The tiger severely injured the man and he is still recovering, learning to walk again but suffering from the long-term consequences.

What we learn from this all is that even if you tamed a tiger and became its friend, there is still a chance that it kills you some day. There have been so many cases in circuses in which people were seriously injured or even died. The animals travelling with a circus are anyway the most restrained in their freedom and are the best example for animals made for human entertainment. I think I don’t need to repeat how much I pity these animals.

Wild animals are not meant to live together with humans, in their house or in a cage. They are not made for our entertainment.

Human Cruelty of Breeding Dogs and Pets with painful Diseases for their Ego – 4 Jul 11

Last week I have written a lot about pets and animals, how I think you should keep them and how they should not be kept. I also expressed my opinion about the general idea of having pets and said that you should not keep a pet only for your entertainment if this in any way limits the freedom of the animal or is not good for it. Humans have kept pets for their own benefit without looking much at what is good for the animal. The ego of wanting to show off with your pet has led to breeding animals in a certain way for certain characteristics.

This is one of the best examples of how human has deliberately destroyed the lives of many animals and has made them live in pain. People thought that a dog of a certain breed for example is only beautiful if he has all characteristics of that breed. In order to achieve this appearance, dog breeders have made many experiments and sold the best examples for much money. For them it is greed, for those who buy the dogs it is ego but for the dog it often means a life full of pain.

Dog breeders did not care much about whether the dogs that they put together may have been related by blood, as long as that blood was clearly and provably of one certain race or breed. In this way, by inbreeding, they created the problem: two recessive genes carrying disorders came together. This would hardly ever have been a problem if the dogs had mated out in nature with dogs of another race or family. But within their family they are all carrying those defected genes and inbreeding makes the risk of this gene turning up much higher.

That is how so many purebred dogs today have serious diseases. Breeders tried to make bulldogs and other breed look flat-faced and thus these breeds have big trouble breathing with their set-back noses. Additionally bulldogs have such big heads but narrow hips that they cannot give birth naturally. Their puppies have to be born by Caesarean section, there is no other way!

Pugs are supposed to be beautiful if they have very large, round eyes. They have bred them as much that most pugs nowadays have eyes that protrude so far that their eyelids can hardly cover them to clean them. Many of them suffer from chronic conjunctivitis which frequently leads to blindness.

German Shepherd Dogs, Labradors and other large dog breeds but also some smaller breeds often have a common problem which also started by inbreeding: hip dysplasia. In this disease the thigh bone does not properly fit into the hip and thus the dog wears off the joint when he is walking which causes pain and in the end normally cripples the dog. He cannot walk properly anymore, has arthritis, tries to balance the weakness of his hip in other ways and just leads a miserable life which often ends with being euthanized by its owners who were previously proud to have a purebred dog.

Large dogs in general, bred to be even bigger and heavier, have problems cooling down their bodies while small dogs cannot get enough heat to stay warm. Big dogs have problems with their knee joints and often have tumors in the legs, simply because of their heavy weight!

You could go on and on about immune system diseases, skin problems, blood disorders, joint problems, crippling, paralysis, impairments of sight and hearing, heart disease and cancer in all those pedigree pets. It is not only dogs, also cats, horses and other animals suffer from these problems.

The worst thing is: people still don’t care! They go to shows and competitions where the beauty of their animals is rated by exactly those attributes that make them sick! The sicker they are, the higher their value! Humans deliberately create these animals and make them ill. Isn’t human the most cruel creature on this world?

Love for Animals – The only healthy Way of keeping Pets – 1 Jul 11

I said yesterday already that I would write something positive about having pets, too, and I wanted to write in which cases I approve of keeping pets. There are two main factors: where you get your pet from and how you keep it.

I am against shops in which they sell animals for pets, which are sitting all together in little cages, waiting for someone to take them. They were born for this purpose and are now there, displayed so that someone comes, chooses ‘the cutest’ and makes it their pet. We have gone to such a shop in order to take pictures of those animals – which was not allowed. The picture above and those of the diary entry two days ago are those which we took in that shop. In these shops they have produced an animal just like you produce a flower pot. You display all of the pots, hoping will come and like your product. But what will happen if nobody takes it? You will throw away your old pots but what do you do with the animals? You can note that in such shops you will always find young animals. What happened to the older ones?

No, this is not the way and I believe if you pick a pet in such a shop, you are not doing it out of love for the animal. In my opinion the situation is different if you pick your animal up from an animal shelter where you find those animals which were put out onto the streets by their previous owners, animals that were rescued from owners who were beating or neglecting them and even animals that have experienced the torture of animal experiments. You have the chance to give your love and a home to all these animals. They are the ones that really need someone.

And then there is the question of how you keep this animal. I already mentioned that I don’t like it when human takes the freedom of animals. I know that most of the people who have pets love animals. They want to take care of these animals and that is why they keep a pet in the first place. You need to see and realistically judge whether you are doing good to this animal by making it a pet. Can you give them a place with much nature, a big garden and everything they need, so that they can have a better life?

In earlier times, people lived together with their horses and cows, their goats and chicken, too, just as today people live with their cats and dogs. In that time, they needed the work of the animals, they were useful and the people gave them a space to live and much love. There, too, were cats and dogs and people and animals could live together in a way that was good for both. Animals did not lose their freedom, they had everything they needed and some help of humans. But in a normal modern lifestyle this does not work! You cannot live like this in the average flat in New York city, Paris or Delhi!

It is however still possible today to live together with animals in a way that is appropriate for them and that does not restrain them or limit their freedom. It is wonderful if animal-lovers have the possibility to keep animals in a natural way.

We have destroyed a lot of nature on this planet and have made it difficult for some animals to even survive without the help of human. They don’t have their natural space for living anymore. We have cut down forests and have built houses on their meadows. Their prey has fled and there is no space for them.

Additionally we have made many of these animals incapable of actually taking care of themselves. A cat that has always lived with humans and has always been fed has difficulties to naturally follow its instinct and hunt a bird or mouse. It doesn’t know anymore how to survive! We have destroyed animals in this way, too!

Due to these reasons, that we have destroyed their habitat and we have destroyed them, I can say that it is great if there are people who have the possibility to give them a space to live naturally and freely. Where they can take care of themselves and whatever they need more is provided by human. In this way, symbiosis of human and animals is possible and makes sense to me. If you love animals, this is in my point of view the only way to keep them with full love as pets.

Animals as Substitutes for Children or Partner to fill emotional Gap – 30 Jun 11

I think I have made clear that I am against producing animals only for eating them. In the same way however I am against producing animals for other selfish purposes: for your own entertainment or for your ego.

What is the reason for you to have a pet? Many times it is really only your entertainment and often even a substitute for missing social contact in life. I have met so many people who use their pets because they don’t have another outlet for their feelings.

Many of them need someone whom they can command. They enjoy the feeling that they say something and it is done. As they cannot do this with other people, they get themselves a dog and teach him what he should do. This makes them feel in power and makes them feel good about themselves. But is this the right reason for keeping a dog, just to have a slave-like being that obeys?

Others don’t have anybody in their lives whom they can hug, who gives them warmth and love. Many of these people are simply not able to make friends. They are not able to make contact with people in a normal way and this is how they feel lonely. The solution is to buy a pet. A cat that can lie in their lap, whom they can stroke and who comes to them because it is also just lonely and needs someone. They can talk to the cat and it never answers anything that they don’t want to hear. But shouldn’t you rather go out and learn how to get along with human persons, face the real life instead?

Sometimes cats and dogs even have to serve as substitutes for precisely a certain role: children. People who cannot have children or who are too busy to really have children, sometimes get a pet or two and behave as if they are their children. They call themselves mum and dad and have the feeling that they really have a little family in this way. There is however the fact that a cat or a dog does not have such a high life expectancy as a real child would have. So whenever the pet has to face its death, the ‘parents’ are devastated. After all, this dog was like their son to them! They try everything to save it, bring it to the vet and spend lots of money but in the end the dog will die before them. I have even met people who then, naturally after an appropriate time for mourning, went and bought another dog that looked just exactly like the old one, the same race, the same colour and the same height. They call it by the same name and become its parents again. Don’t you think you are cheating your own feelings? Buying children and when they die, you replace them again?

And of course cats or dogs are not as care-intensive as are children! You don’t need to be pregnant and give birth to them, you can simply go and buy them! It is pretty easy, they even give you a complete pack of accessories along with the pet when you buy it. For a child, you will be responsible at least for the next 18 years. You will have to send it to school, you have to take care of it when it has its own friends and when it makes its own experiences. A cat or a dog is not that difficult! For people who are lonely, pets are also easier than partners. They don’t argue, they don’t cheat on you, you don’t need to date them and convince them that you are the one – you just buy them and there you are! It is just so much easier. But again, is that really how you should live your life and how the animal should live its life?

Reconsider why you want to have a pet. If it is because of your ego and the wish to command or if it is as a substitute for human companionship or if it is only for your own entertainment, don’t do it. I love animals and for their sake I want to ask you to give them their freedom. Tomorrow I will write a bit about the cases in which I believe it is fine to have a pet opposed to those which I described today.

Making Pets of Animals takes away their natural Freedom – 29 Jun 11

Yesterday I wrote about the cruel way that animals, which are only there to be eaten, are kept, stuffed into cages or buildings for livestock where they only have a tiny bit of space for themselves. I sometimes think that having a pet is in many cases not a lot better than this. It goes against nature, too, and although it may not be as cruel, the lives of many pets are miserable.

I don’t agree with the idea of having pets. People have dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice but also reptiles like snakes in all sizes or certain kinds of lizards.

One of my main concerns is that this is not the natural way of life for any animal. We are forcing them to live in a way that they are not meant to live. In nature, rabbits could run around, they could jump and dig and they could find their own food. You take them, place them in a small cage of a square meter or maybe two and there it is going to spend its whole life, because you want to have a rabbit for your entertainment.

In the same way, a cat is a free animal, strolling around and exploring its area, hunting mice, birds and other animals, living freely. You come and take such a cat and make it live in a three-room apartment or even on less space for the rest of its life. The apartment is in a big city, on the tenth floor and has no garden. This cat will never leave the flat and never get to see the real world. Do you really think that this is a nice life for a cat?

I once had a conversation with a woman about this topic. She herself kept a cat in her very small apartment. When I asked her about it she said that this cat never got to know anything else. It was born in an apartment, was sold or given to her, moved into her apartment and thus cannot miss the real life. It never saw a garden so it doesn’t matter that it will never see one. It doesn’t care that it lives on less than 50 square meters because it never had more than that. But imagine doing the same to a human person! Keep a boy in a flat from the moment he is born and never let him out. Wouldn’t you say it is inhumane and like a prison? He would not know anything else either! You would never to this to a person but you think you are allowed to do this to a cat. It is against the nature of the cat!

We create an animal for our entertainment and give it pain for the rest of its life. This is not taking care of nature, this is not how we should live. We should think more of the animal than of us. Would the animal like living like this? Can I give the animal everything that it would have in free nature, too?

There are many related thoughts on my mind and I will write them down in the next days.