Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Musings- The Critters In My Neighborhood

One of the interesting things about the neighborhood that I live in is the fact that nearly all of us seem to have pets. Not only that, there seems to be a pretty even mixture of dogs and cats. The problem is that not everyone is a RESPONSIBLE pet owner.

My cats are mainly indoor cats. They do, once in a while, manage to escape and have to be chased down. I have never left them outside for extended periods of time. They have all been spayed/neutered. I groom them fairly often, although probably not as often as they'd like. There are several semi-feral cats that have taken up residence in my backyard/under the house. I am not responsible for them, but I have been known to put out a little food & water in bad weather (and a blanket lined box in a sheltered area during one really bad winter) because I hate the thought of any innocent creature suffering.

One of my neighbors, J, helped me chase down Nightshade when she escaped a few years ago. She told me about how she fostered dogs & cats and had several of her own. Then she pointed to a cat that had come to see what we were doing. "That one's mine," she said. "But she likes living outside." It was a pretty cat. She looked like a golden version of my Felicity. In talking, I discovered they are about the same age. I forget what J said her name actually was, but took to calling her Mooch, because after that day, she spent a great deal of time trying to get into MY house, and begged shamelessly for feeding.

A Latino family moved in to the house across and down one from mine. Mooch convinced them that they needed to feed her too. Their house has a bigger, partially enclosed porch and they took to leaving food & water bowls out. And then they put a bed out there for her too. She still spent a lot of time in my yard, which drove Felicity crazy. I always knew Mooch was out when I heard the "SPROING" of Felicity bouncing off the window screen (Which, mercifully, is still holding up) and the bawling of kitty challenges.

Eventually the other cats I mentioned showed up. There is a big black & white one that I have taken to calling Jazz. (no idea why, but s/he answers to it now) There are two smaller, but amazing fluffy black kitties back there as well. They often go over to Mooch's porch for meals, but always come back to my yard. I recently found out that they are Moochie's kittens- and were probably born under my house. So not only had  my nimrod neighbor left this cat outdoors, she'd never been spayed.

We have a variety of other wildlife in the area, despite the wild cats. There are bunnies galore (funny rabbit story coming in a later post), including some kamikaze bunnies that I *SWEAR* listen for the sound of my car and come scampering out into the street in front of me, leading me to slam on my brakes and shriek like a madwoman. We have squirrels, and possum (ick) and something that I think may be an otter living in the large drainage ditch.And birds- oh do we have birds. There are a couple of big fat robins that love to dance about in the yard, taunting my 3 brats. I used to have a couple of feeders hanging in the yard, but the wind storms we had the last few years broke all the low branches and trashed them.

I was talking to my neighbor directly across from me the other night. She was out with her puppy, Remy, and I had crossed the street to play with the pup since I know Miss Fran is trying to teach her NOT to go zipping out into the road. Our street is quiet, but has an oddly steady amount of traffic. Anyway, Fran asked me what I thought about the fight the Latino family was having with Mooch's purported owner. I've been a bit preoccupied with family and work issues, so I didn't have a clue what she was talking about.

It seems that poor little Moochie had been hit by a car a few weeks ago. I'm not sure if they saw it happen or if she managed to drag herself to their house, but the Latinos (I really need to learn their names) raced her to the vet. She was pretty badly injured, but they were able to save her, and it was at some expense. J didn't offer to help pay for any of it. The Samaritans decided that they were going to make Mooch an indoor cat, period, and she now officially lives with them, apparently in the lap of luxury. (They still feed the other cats though. I really do need to get to know them because I think that's pretty cool of them) J is apparently now claiming that they've stolen HER cat. A cat she never fed, left outside, and did NOTHING for when she was injured. The few neighbors on the street that care are all siding with the Latino family. So am I, now.

I don't get how she can brazenly claim to care about this cat. Nothing she has done screams PET LOVER to me. As for the animals she claims to foster- nobody has ever seen an animal go in or out of that house. At this point, I'd be afraid to go in myself. There's no telling what's in there.

So what do you think? Can you really call yourself a pet owner if you leave your pet to roam wildly? I don't mean letting your dog out to run- we used to be guilty of that with our beloved Scotty Dog, but he ALWAYS came home, inside, to sleep & eat, and be generally loved on. (I doubt we'd do that kind of thing today- there are too many nuts out there) I mean leaving an animal out, permanently, providing no care of any sort. Thoughts?

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