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Archive for the ‘Pobrecito’ Category

Pobrecito-Watch (3)

This morning I got up and heard a strange noise in the garden. I went out into the balcony and saw some cats at the other end, two adults and two kittens. On the wall was a black and white male cat trying to hump a black and white kitten, holding it by the scruff of the neck. He wasn’t doing too well, though. On the ground nearby was a grey and white cat with a grey and white kitten. The small black and white one was quietly complaining and desperately trying to get away. Sometimes the grey one — which I realised was the mother — was trying half-heartedly to intervene.

I know this is all part of nature, but I felt too sorry for the little one, and went down to scare them away. This kitten simply struck me as too young to go through this. Plus, the way the grey adult was dealing with the black adult suggested to me that he was the father.

When I approached them, the male cat stopped and let go of the little one. He turned and faced me expectantly.

It was Pobrecito.

Pobrecito, my ass. This guy’s got a family already, and a wife who lets him do whatever he wants.

And I felt sorry for the little bastard.

A friend of mine who does work with Friends of the Cat told me about a blind cat she’d seen once that survived better than most other cats. Its survival instincts seemed sharper. I suppose they would have to be.

[Pobrecito-Watch (1) and (2), plus this.]

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Pobrecito-Watch (2)

When I woke up this morning I could hear that horrible sound not even the most dyed-in-the-wool cat lover can stand: the baby-like howling of two cats trying to mate, or one cat trying to mate while the other complains. They at the right-hand end of the wall, which is too dark or hidden by the tree in this picture to see, a bit past the corner, in the lot around the corner. Trapped at the end of the wall was Pobrecito, his back turned to them as they stood eye-to-eye, plumed tails in the air, hair on their backs bristling. He would turn and face them briefly, nervously, wondering (as I imagined it) if it was safe for him to make a run for it. But run where? He would extend a paw, ready to climb down off the low wall, but then pull it back.

I stood on the balcony and watched. I wanted to jump down and scare them away, but it was too dangerous. Pobrecito would hear me too, get scared, and probably fall over into the parking lot below. This was enough of a danger without my intervention, if the other two started to scuffle.

He turned his back to them again, as if having decided to wait patiently till they were finished, and I went inside to make my morning coffee.

Some time later, I noticed it was quiet out. I went to see. The two cats were gone, and Pobrecito was still sitting in his corner, looking unruffled in spite of it all. A moment ago I checked, and he had gone.

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Pobrecito-Watch (1)

He‘s still around.

Actually, I have no idea if it’s a he, but I think of him as one.

At 7.30 this morning I saw him stepping across the ledge in the garden.

Where does he go?

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Nor dread nor hope

For the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed a cat, probably no more than six or seven months old, moving slowly about in the garden outside my balcony.

This is the best picture I have of the garden at the moment, taken a few years ago after a sudden snowfall. On the other side of the ledge is a parking lot, about 15 meters down. To the right is a high wall, covered in ivy.

This young cat was moving around more gingerly than other cats usually do. At one point it seemed to misstep and nearly fall off the ledge and into the garden. My cat, Lazy, was sitting on a chair on the balcony, crouching behind a pot of aloe, watching. Somehow, she seemed to know not to run out and attack it. (Cats are always fighting in the garden.)

Later I saw the cat up on the high wall, meowing loudly. I noticed it had no eyes. A woman was down at the end of the high wall, to the right of the ledge, where the people who live in the building around the corner park their cars. She was dangling her keys and calling out to the cat, which couldn’t find its way back to the tree it had climbed up to get to where it was.

I saw it again today, standing on the high wall, “looking” down.

How does a cat survive in a city like Athens with no eyes? I hate seeing animals suffer, and live in fear of seeing a cat or dog get hit by a car. Dogs here in Greece do something I’ve never seen them do in Toronto: they chase cars at intersections and try to bite them. My heart is in my throat every time I see this. They usually do it in packs. They seem to choose cars arbitrarily, but always just after the lights have turned green and the cars have started moving. They invariably try to bite the car somewhere between the front door and the front bumper. It’s a game, apparently, but it drives me crazy. How do they manage to keep their teeth?

Actually, Athens has surprisingly little roadkill. There would probably be more if so many cats and dogs weren’t poisoned. On 31 December 2002, the night before Athens became the capital of EEC, over 40 cats and 18 dogs died after eating food laced with insecticides. These animals lived in and around the park at Zappeio, where the summit was held. Despite a surprisingly large demonstration, and a petition signed by almost 50,000 people demanding an end to the poisoning, which was delivered to the Greek embassy in Brussels, in February of 2003, another 20 cats around Zappeio were killed.

It’s the helplessness of these animals that fills me with dread, the idea that they are victims of a world they can’t understand. When they’re dying slowly and painfully, what do they think? (For, as anyone who’s ever had a dog or cat can tell you, they sometimes growl and whimper in their sleep, a sign that they dream, and if they dream they must have thoughts which are somewhat like ours.) Do they wonder why? Do they know the end has come, or are they waiting for the pain to go away? Something in the way they seem to wait stoically for death makes me want to believe that they don’t feel pain as acutely as we do.

How much worse is it for an animal that can’t even see the threats that surround it?

I’ve always wanted to believe, as Yeats said, that neither dread nor hope attend a dying animal, though not because man has created death. Thinking so simply makes it easier for me.

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