Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Live, Dammit! LIVE!!!
Believe it or not, this isn't the most cats we've had on our property at one time.
I was raised to fear all animals except the most docile of pet fish. My mom was chased home by a snarling dog after school one day as a little girl, so to her, all animals were evil.
This tenet of my formative years held much sway over me until I met HUBS The Cat Loving Man. See, HUBS had always had a cat around the house growing up, sometimes more than one even. He loved fluffy kitties. And that's no euphemism, my friends.
After moving to the St. Louis area and living feline free for a couple of years he was starting to obsess over cats. The strays near my apartment got names from him (Hi Moses!), appreciative calls and plaintive sighs when they'd run off before he could get close enough to pet them.
I was tired of the insanity. I took him to the Humane Society so he could see some cats up close. He ended up adopting one, Tux. And I ended up seeing that not all animals need killing.
Forward to fall 2008. I'm jobless and at home all day most days. My depression, even with Tux to keep me company during the day, is deepening. But, there are bright spots.
Namely? When I spy one of our neighborhood's many stray cats out of a window. I enjoy watching them; the whole hunting, lolling, stalking, napping, trotting lot of them. They somehow make long days with no hope of finding steady work more bearable.
I decided to start feeding them a couple times a week. You know, just since it's kinda cold and they might have a hard time finding food. Really, though? Also because I wanted them to stop spending so much time across the street in front of our neighbor's garage and come a bit closer so I could see them better already.
It didn't take long to become completely invested in their lives. I run outside when I see them lolling in the street to keep them safe. I've started putting food out every day and on occasion twice a day (I feel bad when someone comes by later who missed out). I know who's dating whom and when I think of moving I know I'd miss them and wonder who'd feed them. But, most notably...I name them. Xut (that's pronounced Zoot) and Bandit were HUBS' idea, but Flo, Frankie, Sebastian and Chester were totally my doing.
And HUBS has only encouraged my obsession. Twice he's called me on his way to work to let me know the cats were gathering, Xut was shivering and I should probably put out food. Of course, I do. How could I not?
I want those strays and their as yet un-named cohorts to live like no strays have lived before. And I'm only a little ashamed by it now.