05 January 2011

The Lives (and Deaths) of Street Cats

Lenny is still alive!

I hadn't seen him for a few months, and when I'd seen him in winter & early spring, he looked really ill with cat flu. He's very sweet natured, but somewhat unprepossessing, extremely wary of all humans, and not assertive enough with the other cats to get his fair share of any food that's going. So I was totally surprised and delighted to hear him caterwauling today in true tom-cat fashion (shame I didn't manage to trap, desex, release him back in the days when I fed him every night, and he'd come within touching distance of me). I was in the backyard of the Korean guys' house, feeding Sandy and Tabby when I heard him. I called; he peered over the fence at me; I waved an open sachet of smelly fishy cat food enticingly; he came a little closer; then one of the residents came home with much banging and stomping, and Lenny fled. the returning worker and I bowed to each other. The current Korean guys mostly seem to be neutral about cats, but very tolerant of the Mad Anglo Lady who comes into their backyard to feed the cats (who lived there before they did).


Sandy and Tabby had eaten about a third of a 400g tin of cat food each, plus had a handful or two of dry food, plus Sandy drank some lactose-free milk (I took the milk away before she went pop - small, skinny cat with bulging sides from wolfing down food as fast as poss).

Sandy in playful mode

I went back along the road to the park beside the Jungle House (the garden is a jungle; the house is actually quite nice in the middle of all the chaotic plants, stored construction materials and bits of motorbikes) and called again, and Smoky turned up - yay! so she got the remaining third of the tin, plus some dry food (and I gave wee bits of the tinned food to Sandy so she'd leave Smoky to eat in peace).

Smoky rolling, Tabby looking wary (photo taken by Rebecca Green in December 2010)

Lenny hadn't reappeared, so I went back to the Korean house, left the fishy sachet on the side gate at the back of the house, near where he'd been before, hoping he'd eat it soon and that it wouldn't piss off the residents by sitting stinking for hours. (Sandy's habit of using their lovely vegetable garden as a toilet undoubtedly and justifiably does annoy them, but that patch of ground was her toilet before they went and planted vegies there)

then I went to put the Street Cat Food Bag back in my car, and get the shopping bags that I planned to use at Woollies after I'd picked stuff up from my PO box and bought chicken from Lefkas Chicken. I checked down the side of the Korean house as I walked past, hoping to see Lenny eating the smelly fish, but instead saw a white duck. or possibly a goose. I'm not very knowledgable about waterfowl. Sandy looked like she wanted to take the duck/goose on, but it rose up and flapped its wings menacingly, and she thought better of it.

As I got back to the car, Shadow turned up, and dashed around hopefully, wanting food and/or stroking, so I got the last sachet out and gave it to her, fending Sandy and Smoky off with tiny bits of wet food so they'd let Shadow eat in peace. (Tabby is much less assertive, and made do with more dry food) So the four female felines had all eaten, and Lenny had some food that he could eat, if he could get over his urge to spend all his time caterwauling, his understandable fear of humans, and possibly some competition from the goose (or duck).

I stayed at the park a while to make sure that the cute but mangy dog that wanted to eat the cats' food and/or the cats did neither, then finally set off to pick up parcels (ooh! parcels :-D) from my PO box, buy a nice roast chicken for me and my cats-at-home, and buy some groceries at the supermarket. Cute-but-mangy turned out to have an attendant human, who turned up some time after the dog, so I exchanged greetings with her, said how cute the dog was, and how well-behaved he was, not chasing the poor hungry cats, who'd been abandoned through no fault of their own (always good to get in a plug for the cats' abandoned status, work up some sympathy).

My parcels at the post office included a batch of t-shirts from Threadless.com (ooh, I love interesting/beautiful t-shirts! Must. Keep. Within. Budget!), a book I'd ordered from Book Depository (Silver Screen, by Justina Robson), a book I won in an online competition from FableCroft Publishing (The Way of the Wizard, ed. John Joseph Adams), a book sent by my friend Heather in London (I Had a Black Dog, writ & illus by Matthew Johnstone), and a very heavy parcel for my sister (a bunch of doll collectors' magazines, now out of print). what bounty! what joy!

then I toddled off to Lefkas Chicken, where they had No Chicken Left. :-[
however, I'd not only been able to feed & smooch & play with Sandy, feed & stroke Shadow, and feed Tabby & Smoky (boy, I'd love to stroke or preferably brush those two - they have beautiful long fur, that gets so tangled & full of leaves, and must give them awful fur-balls), I'd seen Lenny! so it was worth spending the extra time with the Street Kittehs, and I could get some chicken from Lefkas another time.

shopping at the supermarket was quite straightforward - get enough yoghurt, bananas, salad vegies and double choc muffins to last for the next week (i.e. until I've moved to my new home - eek!), and several rolls more packing tape (even though I'm two-thirds packed, you can Never Have Too Much Packing Tape), and then push the wobbly trolley back to where I'd parked by the park. (Woollies in Campsie is very civilised, and allows shoppers to take trolleys to their cars, even if they're a few blocks away. this is very convenient for customers, and provides a job for the Trolley Man, who drives around collecting the shopping trolleys & returning them to the supermarket)

I gave Sandy, Tabby and Shadow some more dry food (I'd seen cute-but-mangy finishing what I'd left for them as I came back from Woollies), and peered hopefully past the waterfowl down the side of the Korean house to see if the smelly fish had been eaten, but couldn't really tell.

Still no sign of Henri or Sibby (not sighted for a couple of months), or Dragon or Shelly (not sighted for at least five months) - they might just be avoiding me, or be eating elsewhere, or may have sadly met their end on the road, as several others from their extended family have.

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