By Mary Anglberger
I got sucked into the cat thing – something probably many can relate to. I am a ‘cat person’ to start with. I own a fluffy, cuddly, most adorable indoor cat who brightens my every day, and who gets spoiled accordingly.
And then I have somehow adopted several outdoor cats in my neighbourhood who are less spoiled, but who have been taking a lot of my energy lately.
A woman in our street left, asking me if I could feed the two cats that live in her yard until she had moved house, whereupon she would come and get them. Well, she never did. I’ve been feeding a fluctuating number of ‘street cats’ ever since, and I have recently started getting them spayed. It really is a difficult situation – a neverending (and increasingly expensive) story.
And it seems now, also a dangerous one. The other day, getting home late from work, I went straight to my mailbox where I keep a box of cat biscuits, to feed the gang.
One of our building’s neighbours passed by and told me that he wanted me to stop feeding the cats.
What ensued was a totally pointless discussion – me laughing, him shouting – as to whether cats are ‘dirty’ and whether the garbage bins smell ‘because of the cats’. I was told that I and the cats would have ‘big problems’ if I didn’t stop my polluting ways. I laughed at that too, replying that, yes, he could probably poison the cats, but me?
I am not too worried, but did leave a polite letter under his door, explaining the difference between being aggressive and trying to make a difference, along with an itemised breakdown of the money I have spent in my attempt to keep things in check.
Knowing that there are many ‘evil cat feeders’ like myself out there, who, one day, just got sucked into being kind, I am happy about the announced initiative by the government to spay street cats for free.
Let’s hope that it’ll actually happen and that people will be responsible enough to take advantage of the offer.
Because, as the poem ‘To a Mouse’ – on which John Steinbeck’s famous novella, Of Mice and Men, is based – observes: “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry”.