Friday, December 01, 2006

Moving: No Cat Left Behind?

I found a great deal on a much newer home some 40 miles from where I now reside. It is about twice the size of where I am now, but for the price, I would be stupid not to take the offer. The home is in great shape, and other than some cosmetic work, a deck, and vinyl windows, it requires no extensive upgrading or repair. With a good cleaning and a coat of paint, the house is move-in ready.

The only thing holding me back is my sense of responsibility for the various forms of wildlife that frequent my home in search of a meal or somewhere warm and dry to crash every now and then. I am pretty sure that the next owners won’t be so generous with their table scraps and extra cardboard. I would honestly feel guilty leaving them behind. I feel that after all that had been taken from them in terms of habitat and safety, that we should owe them something back for the imposition on their species. It’s only fair.

I am aware that I have no control over their destiny, and even when I help them through a tough winter or feed them treats they wouldn’t normally find while scouring through trash bins and compost piles, I realize that our relationship is not personal nor is it going to become any deeper than it isn’t already. My feelings are my own internal creation and Nature cares nothing for them. I feel as I do, and I don’t plan on offering any apologies.

It was nice having the same pair of cardinals nest close by year after year. The skunks would occasionally tangle with the opossum or the raccoons and there would be some ‘fragrant’ after-effects lingering sometimes for days. I happen to like that smell. Late at night, one can hear the opossum eating from the large food dish outside, where they simply turn the dish over on its side and eat until something or someone interrupts their midnight buffet. I will miss sitting out with the raccoons while they sift through the scraps of food and carefully pick out the best pieces for themselves. The bird feeder will come with me and I’m sure that where there is seed and sunflowers, there will be birds to eat them.

The stray cats all have names and numbers and I am debating which ones I will be taking with me. Murray is a small orange tabby who was born under my neighbor’s home. Murray was named after a cat from a Showtime series “Dead Like Me.” He was taken in by another female cat named Firefly; named so because she is completely dark except for the very tip of her tail, which is bright white. Firefly is very timid and she trained Murray to be just as skittish. Firefly was replaced as Murray’s mentor by Dragonfly, another dark cat, with the mooching skills of a seasoned professional. Though he tries to get Murray to be more social with humankind, Murray’s early socialization won’t allow him to get much closer to me than two or three feet. Murray isn’t shy about asking for anything though and if the outdoor food bowl is empty, he will make himself heard at the kitchen window. Murray has been around my home since being a tiny kitten and, sadly, will likely be left behind when I move.

Princess and Silo will adjust. I will have to lock them in the new house for a few months just to acclimate them to their new surroundings, but I am sure they will be fine. With more space, the two won’t be crossing paths often, and therefore Princess, the calico, won’t be throwing her usual hissie-fits when another cat comes within her range. Silo responds to her wailing with deference, indifference, and sometimes he goads her into a fight. She is very easily manipulated because of her paranoia and control freak-ism. Silo probably thinks she’s an idiot.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about the move. My neighbors have changed a few times in five years; some better, some not so better. The new area has a lot of unknowns, is quite a ways north of the city and much, much quieter. As a ghetto child, moving into less tumultuous surroundings might have a disconcerting effect, but a larger living space would also mean more space for another human being besides myself (she knows who she is), and I think she wants me to move just so we can get a bigger bed!

Either way, I will keep everyone posted on how things go. Everything should be decided within the next couple of weeks. The blog will stay active in the meantime.

Kol Tuv

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