Thursday, February 5, 2009
The Wild Origin Of Cat Boy
Cat Boy was feral once. He lived underneath a big dumpster that stood behind a multi-family dwelling, not far from my home. That was the prime spot where a stray female gave birth to about a half dozen kittens. It provided a big, sheltered area and a constant source of food for her little family. Between the constantly replenished food source of human garbage, and the mice it attracted, they would not go hungry.
The apartment house that leased the dumpster sits on the corner of two quiet side streets. In those days my sister lived across the street from the place. Just a few feet away from where the cat family lived was a large sewer grate at a low spot in the road. Except when everything is frozen solid, or in the driest days of summer, there is a thin rivulet of water creeping lazily down hill toward the drain, and the pipes beneath it gurgle loudly with the sounds of moving water.
Besides Cat Boy there was a beautiful, long-haired calico female, a short-haired calico female, and a set of twin of "tuxedo" cats; black with white paws and bibs.
Once my sister and I became aware of them, we gave the the ones we saw most frequently names and started observing their comings and goings. There was Shy; the timid, pretty calico, Funny face; her drabber, short-haired sister, Tux and Jet were the black tuxedo brothers, who had a habit of sitting back to back on the top edge of the dumpster like book ends, and of course, Cat Boy; the regal black and white male with the giant, double paws.
My sister and I, along with her husband were doing a cleaning and feeding shift at a local animal shelter. Twice a week we'd go to the shelter in the evening and let the cats out of their cages. We would give them clean water and fresh food, administer any prescribed medicines, clean and disinfect the cage, brush the bedding, then brush and play with each resident for a few moments.
After observing the wild kitten's antics for few weeks, the three of us became concerned for their safety and well-being. We decided that when they became old enough, we would try to catch them so they could be spayed or neutered and given vaccinations. After that, maybe the shelter could find good homes for them. They were all very wild and would scatter instantly if approached. It was not going to be easy, but we constructed a plan that included a "hav-a-heart" trap and a can of salmon, and we went fishing for felines one cool autumn night...