Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Street Cats of San Pedro

Be honest. If there was a gritty movie about a crazy gang war called "The Street Cats of San Pedro," possibly shot by Quentin Tarantino, you'd totally go see that, right? It would, of course, feature a cameo from Samuel L. Jackson (who would walk on screen solely to drop a well-placed F-Bomb). Now I know you've bought your ticket.

But this isn't a post about a movie. This is about when strangers stop being polite, and start being real. Specifically, we start being real about the state of the outdoor garbage can at our house. Because the Street Cats of San Pedro (hereafter referred to as the SCoSP) are actually cats. Who actually live in San Pedro, and actually eat our trash.

I've had a bit of a transformation on this topic in the past few weeks. A month ago, if you had asked me my opinion of the street cats, I would say that we are in a war. Between the lady cats being in heat and screaming at all hours outside our windows, and ALL of them marking their territory by peeing on the trash bin, I was pretty over them.

And then Tellulah came along on Thanksgiving, and the holiday spirit caught me, and now here we are. The SCoSP are largely self-sufficient, so the ones that need a little extra help have officially dug themselves a place in the available worry and concern I have to give out. And thus, in this past week, I've made friends with not just Tellulah (who sadly, is back on the street and coming by nightly for some head scratches and expired bits of hotdog) but also another kitten I've started calling Zombie.

Tellulah - click to get a better view of her tail nubbin.

Tellulah and Zombie are the only two cats I actually bother with (or that bother with me), but we have a pretty regular crowd at the trash bin. (For the record there are loads more cats that live in the neighborhood, these are just the six I see most often).

your key (click for bigger image):
1. Tellulah
maybe 6ish months old. Female, and VERY unfortunately, also the aforementioned cat who was in heat a few weeks back outside our house. She may be eating for 8 when she comes to visit.
2. Zombie
(more about her below)
3. Medium-size, floofy grey tabby.
Best guess is it's a girl, judging by size. I've been calling her Calamity Jane ever since she managed to get stuck in the garage door while dashing out one night.
4. Medium size grey cat.
No name as of yet, rightfully scared of everything.
5. Medium size black cat.
Unnamed, also skiddish.
6. O'Maley
brown tabby who I'm pretty sure most of the neighborhood cats also call "Big Poppa."

Quick anecdotal segway: Back in the summer before my 8th grade year (also known as when dinosaurs still roamed the earth), I was hanging out outside and happened to watch a stray kitten try to hide itself in our garage. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you may have inferred that my immediate reaction was to close the garage door and spent the next few hours coaxing the kitten out of hiding behind the snowblower with pieces of ham. The rentals decided that if I wanted to help this kitten so badly, I would have to find a new home for it, as it was NOT coming in the house. I was convinced that if I was able to have the kitten stay at the house long enough, it would grip their heartstrings like it had gripped mine. So I took to calling my friends with the following statement:

Hi. I was wondering if you'd like a kitten. She's cute and all, but she's a stray, so she doesn't really like people, and she's smelly and dirty, and she probably has worms. Any interest?

And that, folks, is how our Pookie joined our family. (she's a little fatter and a lot older now than in this picture, but she's still very pretty with that crazy orange stripe on her head.)

Anyway, I told you that story to tell you this:

Hi. I was wondering if you'd like a kitten. Maybe 3 or 4 months old. She's cute and all, but she's a stray, so she's very leery of people. And she's dirty, and might have worms. Oh yeah, and she only has one working eye. Any interest?

I call her Zombie for a reason, but in my humble opinion, that doesn't make this torbie (Torbie: n. A cat with tabby AND tortie-shell coloring. Fairly rare, almost always female. Meaning she has tabby stripes all over, but there are parts of her that are orange tabby, and parts of her that are brown tabby.) any less adorable. I debated calling her Pirate, but Zombie seemed more appropriate since I only see her after the sun's gone down.

Here's the thing though - that offer is totally sincere. There isn't a soul down here that would take in a cat like Zombie and get her the help she needs. Fiance and I even discussed last night, that while it would be a great thing to take her to a vet and get her eye checked out/ removed (because she's obviously got a lot of pain there, and it's clearly non-functional at this point), that ultimately we can't have another cat, and turning her back out on the street after that would be horrible. The sad truth that we settled on last night was that if I really found it necessary to help her out, we'd really just be taking her to a vet to be put out of her pain.

I really, truly, believe she has more potential than either SCoSP cat or dead. So mull it over. Really. I think there are possibilities here that can be explored. And please, pass this on if you think you know someone who would be interested in giving a home to a Mexican cyclops cat.

Somebody's got a birthday today.
Mac-Attack, Mac-a-roon, Mac-in-tosh, Mac-i-toddy, Mac-daddy (we never actually call him that last one, 'cause that's kinda creepy) IS THE BIG TRES (THREE) today! (no more terrible twos? fingers crossed?)

I taped him wiggling for you. Yeah, I know, it's so adorable it's crazy.

Wish him a happy birthday in the comments. Do it. You know you want to.

We're not the type of people to throw a party or anything silly for our critters, but he did get some extra snuggle time in bed this morning, a rawhide bone to crunch on, and in a few minutes here I'll be giving him his birthday present: An empty jar of peanut butter to lick. And maybe, if Bubba's feeling in the spirit, he'll let Mac win at tag today.

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