Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Cat Who Shall Be Referred to as Henry Rollins

There're something like a million (? well, a lot of) wild cats in the Twin Cities.
One of them's been lurking in the unkempt bushes next door.
I've been feeding it cans of tuna.
Quite possibly it's entirely feral--it has a wounded ear and shows negative interest in getting warm and fuzzy with me.

I called the Humane Society, and they told me that in the summer, they handle seventy incoming cats a day.
70 x 90 days = 6,300 cats

They also told me the dreadful risks facing cats in the wild:
endless pregnancy for girl kitties; kitty AIDS; maggoty wounds following vicious fights; cruel children (say no more); etc. etc. etc.

If a cat has never been handled by humans, they said, it will never make a pet. Nor are cats equipped to live in the urban wild, unlike squirrels, and they only survive a couple years.
It is better, they said, to euthanize such vulnerable creatures.
If I would catch it in a live trap and bring it in, they would perform that service.

I am sure they're right, in the abstract.
If I were on the city council, I would ABSOLUTELY, 100% vote for a "round up and destroy wild cats" bill.
I'm not particularly sentimental (about cats); and I'm half-Sicilian.

But on a one-to-one, personal level,
I can't get behind choosing death for a creature I know, even if it is for its own good.
I suppose my mother's suicide comes into my thinking.
I understand I understand I understand why she did it; but I just can't say yes to death, if there's any other option at all.
Sometimes there's not. Believe me, I know that.
But here there is.

As of yesterday I named the cat Henry Rollins (though it looks like a girl).
Because it's wild and good and seemingly impossible to live with.

I hope to catch HR, take it to the vet, get it neutered & innoculated (fuck the money), and then release it.
Maybe it would hang around like a barn cat, living on my tuna, before it gets killed by a car or something. Anyway, it would have a fighting chance at life.
Maybe a bad life, but life.

P.S. Turns out the city of Saint Paul does this with wild cats: Trap- Neuter - Release


ArtSparker said...

I don't know about feral cats despite the certainty of the authorities. My father has a cat that started skulking around 17 years ago, he fed it for several years, then it started coming inside to eat and eventually became less frightened of people. It's now a very sweet, affectionate animal. It was fully grown 17 years ago. It's true that it may not have always been feral, it showed up a a couple of years after the Berkeley Hills fire in 1991 and appears to be a neutered female. It also appears not to have aged significantly in the years since it appeared.

Fresca said...

Oh, thank you for telling me that, Sparky.
Makes me feel less crazy.
I'm just going to take it slow and feel my way forward.

Margaret said...

Somewhere in that last paragraph, your words took on the Captain's voice in my head; this is very Kirkian of you, Fresca, and good.

My cat Felix lived under my bed for 6 months and only came out at night to eat. Little by little, he started to hang out closer to the bed-skirt. Now he's out and about.
Cats are smoothable.

Fresca said...

Good ear, Margaret (though technically, it's McCoy who talks about a fighting chance for life).

The Human Society people were very helpful. They said I could try to tame HR, but just to keep my expectations very low.

I always think it's wise to hope for the best, expect the worst.

femminismo said...

Wow, Fresca! I love you! Whoever you are channeling, you have chosen the right words. Good luck, and I'm in for $5 if you need help.

momo said...

Let me know if this operation could be supported with a vehicle and a kitty carrier. I think I still have one around.
A friend of mine took in a cat that seemed to have been abandoned when a house on her block went into foreclosure. It now lives with her and is called Petunia.

Fresca said...

FISMO: Please send tuna! : )

MOMO: Oh, thanks---a car might indeed be helpful. A friend of a friend has lent me a live trap, but if my scheme works, I might need more kitty paraphenalia too---I'll check back with you.
I appreciate the offer.

Jennifer said...

I'm happy to hear about the Neuter and Release program! I understand feral animals are a real problem, and yet somehow those awful numbers are terribly depressing to me. I can't help but come down on the side that a bad life is better than none. You're right that it's McCoy that usually advocates life--Jim would probably go the extra step and argue Rollins is better off out fighting and clawing in the wild than pampered and petted on a pillow somewhere.

I probably would not go that far.

Dan and I also took in a cat that, although not feral, was definitely unlovable and previously mistreated badly. It took a long time, but she eventually started to relax enough to not assume that we would abandon her at any moment. She still had a tendency to bite at random, just to prove she could, but she usually tried not to break the skin.

We loved her very much, can you tell? She was a Shatneresque cat. I agree with the Humane Society that often feral cats are not a good bet, but I really appreciate your trying.

Fresca said...

JEN: I love how we can apply Star Trek to ANYTHING at all.
"What would Kirk do?"
Though, yeah, I wouldn't always follow his lead.

Thanks for the example of your cat. I'm just taking it slow... Henry Rollins faces plenty of dangers but s/he won't freeze to death for a few months yet, anyway.

Jennifer said...

Sadly, I honest-to-deity hardly notice it, Fresca! It seems perfectly natural to me to wonder how Captain Kirk would treat a feral cat. :)

"What Would Kirk Do" might not be words to live by, but surely they would be words to LIVE by.