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Saturday, September 23, 2017

From the ridiculous to the sublime


Back when I was a weaver I had a weaver friend with a house full of kids and husband and friends and noise. It was a nice place to go. The years went on, the kids thinned out and one day it was quiet, except for my friend, and a cat on the sofa. Karen called all the kids, who, she knew, took their cats and dogs, and no one claimed it. They all knew it, but not where it came from. “It just came from the shadows,” Karen said, “got on the sofa and became the house cat.”

Here’s a story about guilt and karma.

One neighbor brought home a kitten for her children, and consigned it outside when fleas were evident. The kitten survived and, according to my neighbor Cathy, who knows all the news, has had two litters. Those kittens have been taken in, or something. They’re gone.



Someone named this cat Gypsy. She is quiet, unassuming, non-demanding. She sits on porches in case a meal is forthcoming. I find her on my deck. She offers to come in. I say “No,” and she sits down again. She is tiny, maybe six pounds. In my mind’s eye she is a corner cat, like the one at Karen’s house.  I try not to get involved. I have a cat, and as my sister pointed out, I will not outlive my cat. I cannot be responsible for another cat.

The original “owner” offered to take Gypsy back if flealess, so I got a dose of medication, which Cathy applied. The cat is flealess, for the time being, but remains homeless. Cathy puts out a plate of food and retrieves it when Gypsy empties it. I’m not reliable enough to do that; my cat gets a fresh bowl of crunchies and a clean bowl of water every morning. Take it or leave it.

The open kitchen seems reduced to Cathy of late, who cannot afford to feed her own cats. I can, but would only be setting up a wild critter feeding station. Winter is coming on. I thought about setting up a house for the cat, but, again am only inviting wildlife. 

Come spring this little cat will be pregnant again. Sometimes I think I’ll just go across the street, kick in the door and tell that person how worthless she is. Fortunately, I have neither the balance nor the strength to take down a door. And, the four little girls are nice little girls.

Cathy and I have talked this to death. Yesterday I gave her my lovely cat carrier, asked her to put in Gypsy when she fed her, and I would take her to the Humane Society. My county is a long oblong; the Humane Society is at the northern border. I called ahead, but in twenty four hours had no return call. I found the building, and was turned away. “Oh, yes. You called. I just didn’t get around to calling back. We don’t have room.”

It was over ninety degrees yesterday. I headed south, for the freeway, and Summit County Animal Control, on, of course, Opportunity Parkway. I don’t know this part of Akron; it was reconstructed from the huge old B.F. Goodrich complex. There is no compass in Kay’s lovely car; I don’t know left from right anyway, and have never fired up my phone’s GPS.

I bet most every cat transported in a car howls. Gypsy said nothing. I apologized for the length of the ride, the cursing at all the detours (downtown Akron is being reconstructed), and the swearing at all the idiots who were as unhappy with construction as I. Gypsy said nothing. After several stops for instructions, we found Opportunity.

Gypsy waited in the car, all windows down. Not allowed inside. I stood in line for close to an hour as the single clerk labored away. At the counter I learned they are at capacity, and couldn’t take her. “But you are a taxpayer funded agency for animal control!” said I. I didn’t spend thirteen years in government for nothing.

They would take her to be euthanized. It would cost me $25. It was so hot; dripping tears were indistinguishable from sweat. I put my debit card on the counter. “We don’t take Visa debit cards; the charge is too high. Do you have a Master Card?” I took back my card and left.

This week we’ll get to the vet and transform her into a proper house cat. She and Toby came to terms in five minutes or less. He must remember being a four week old kitten in a Pittsburgh parking lot. He wants someone to lick his ears, too, like Ryon used to. As for leaving them homeless in the not distant future, I don’t think so. I can make arrangements. But, I’ll be damned if I pay another $50 per month to put a roof over her head. If asked, only one cat lives here.

34 comments:

  1. I am so glad that Gypsy has found a home. Thank you.

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  2. Here in the UK we have something called The Cats Protection League. They have a branch quite near and also a connection with a local vet who treats stray cats for free. The first thing he does if you take a cat there is to spay or castrate. At least then there are no kittens. Then these cats are eventually rehomed to cat loving homes.
    I am glad your cat had a happy ending for her.

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    1. Why is all the common sense across the ocean?

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    2. Google local TNR cat rescue. There are always people who trap, neuter, and release ferals.

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  3. You are so tough and such a fighter. You inspire me greatly! I'm glad this little Gypsy cat found a home.

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  4. Hari OM
    No way does Visa require trader payment on debit cards; credit cards yes, debit cards no. That wasn't what it was about though. It was about this little angel in fur, a spectre of a feline and the Love of Joanne. Gypsy doesn't live on D street - she haunts. No charge for haunting; living yes, haunting no... Blessings to all. YAM xx

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    1. I was a merchant for too many years and know the rules, too. But, everything I was angry about did not include this poor fellow, following rules he could not change.

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  5. Bless you. And if ever there was a cat with enough sense to stay quiet when the housing police come knocking, it sounds like Gypsy.

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  6. Such a lucky cat! You went above and beyond for her!

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  7. She'll be the best cat ever. Thank you Joanne.

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  8. I'm not surprised you took her in.

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  9. Pity you couldn't find some rats and mice to leave at your neighbours house then she would be sorry.
    Merle............

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  10. My lips are sealed. People need to realize how cruel it is to abandon an animal. The animal suffers as do all the people who try to do the right thing for them. The truth is that the people who tried to care for this cat would have had another of their own if circumstances allowed. You are a wonderful person. The person across the street should have to live under a bridge for a week or two.

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    1. And now I've had an afternoon to watch this cat up close, she is pregnant. Why did I think she'd wait to be pregnant again. And I can't even muster up remaining angry. Just get a vet appointment and get on with it.

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    2. I'm sorry to hear she is pregnant again, somewhere there is a Tom who needs desexing and his owner is irresponsible :(

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  11. Aw, how kind you are. I'm sure Gypsy appreciates it so much. She sounds like such a nice cat and I'm glad she found a home with you. Hopefully someone will take your two cats once you are ready for them to have a new home.

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  12. There is something to be said about a calm cat in a car. It is very hard to euthanize a healthy animal. As well, if she and your other cat get along, that's an amazing bonus! Does she have a good purr? -Jenn

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  13. Red tape kept Gypsy from death chamber. Now there will two cats who become fast friends.

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  14. Thanks for taking her in. You had me almost in tears when you wrote about your experience in the animal control office.

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  15. I certainly won't tell if someone asks me how many cats live at your place. One for sure! She's a beauty and will make a great addition to your household. Who knows, you may outlive both cats!

    betty

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  16. Your secret is safe with me. Gypsy is a pretty cat and will be company for Toby when you have to go out. I'm rather sad that no one else could take her, even the welfare places could have squeezed her in and advertised he available for adoption.

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  17. Thank you for saving that sweet Gypsy. She is a beauty and looks so sweet. I found a rescue that spayed and neutered for a discounted price when ferals came to make a home in my yard. They still live here but I don't have to worry about fall and winter kittens anymore. Before you take her to a vet, inquire about a rescue society that might take care of her lady parts for a lower cost.

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  18. oh Joanne, it takes a tender heart and we all know you have one of those for all your toughness. and poor Gypsy, pregnant again.

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  19. Poor little animal...I'm glad you took her in.
    Are there no spay and neuter campaigns in your area? Over the time we have been here the stray dog problem has declined thanks to a campaign in the schools and reduced price treatment available every three months - run by local vets, mostly.

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  20. Seems like she chose you ...... she knew you had a kind heart!

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  21. I'm so glad at least one more stray has found a home (unofficially). And we can't live always thinking if we will be around in five, ten, fifteen years' time. We have to plan for the worst, but hope for the best -- and step into the breach.

    Depending on the stage of pregnancy, a vet might do the spay and terminate the pregnancy. A hard choice, but probably available.

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  22. So glad you have secretly adopted Gypsy x

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  23. you're a good soul, Joanne. I'm glad you took her in.

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