Monday, April 18, 2005

What's New, Pussycat?

The good people of the fine state of Wisconsin are in the process of deciding whether or not to allow the hunting of stray and feral cats, even to the point of baiting them with piles of Meow Mix. Gee, why not anti-freeze and ground glass? Then you don't waste a bullet.

The first I'd heard of this story was on the national news last week, when a mountainous tub of goo -- who looked like she might have a vagina somewhere 'neath all the folds -- intoned hysterically that the feral cats were killing off all the game-birds that humans apparently have the divinely-ordained right to shoot for fun. This is news to me; I'm not sure a cat can take down a quail, much less a pheasant.

More realistically, the cats are threatening songbird populations in many areas. Rational, humane people have responded to this threat by organizing small groups of people to trap the cats (which is very easy) and have the local veterinarian spay/neuter said animal for free (which any decent vet is happy to do). Statistically, feral cats don't usually make it past five years of age, so the problem takes care of itself pretty fast. This takes a bit of volunteer work, but sometimes that is the challenge of the hallowed Culture Of Life™. You do agree that all God's creatures deserve at least some respect, don't you?

But apparently these cheeseheads feel that any cat without a collar is fair game, and if you shoot one that turns out to have a collar after all, oh well, it's just a cat.

I find so many areas of this argument repellent, it's hard to know exactly where to begin. First, I suppose it makes sense to remind how the feral cats exist in the first place. They do not appear out of thin air, spontaneously generated by random molecules reacting to strange weather patterns. They come from self-absorbed assholes who abandon the animal, either actively or passively, because it's an inconvenience to their ability to uphold whatever precious aspect of their modern lifestyle the cat is interfering with. And of course they never bothered to sterilize the animal to begin with.

This just in, people: Cats are rather well-known for their fecundity. Look it up.

Then we turn back to these folks who think they have the right to solve every little problem with a gun. I understand, life can be frustrating. It sucks to find cat shit in your asparagus plants. It sucks to have a stray tomcat spray on your car tire, or on your living-room window (as one stray recently was doing to my very own sanctified domicile). I mean, several of my neighbors let their damned dogs roam free, while mine are penned. So I have dogshit on my lawn every few days. The neighborhood kids occasionally drop trash alongside the road en route to and from their school-bus stop. Sometimes there are cat footprints on the hood of my car the day after I washed it! Oh, the horror! Now I just may have to wash my car again! O cruel fate, why do you mock me so?

Seriously, this notion that every little obstacle in life must be solved with violence is evidence that this is not a Culture Of Life™ at all, but a Culture Of Spite®. Really. So your neighbor's cat keeps shitting on your lawn. Well, go over and talk to him (your neighbor, not the cat). If he does nothing about it, then go and talk to him again, this time gently reminding him that the next time you see the cat on your property, you're calling Animal Control; failing that, you will simply go down to the nearest vet or feed store, rent a trap (they're a couple bucks a day, at most), trap Fluffy and drop him at the animal shelter.

That's really all it takes. You don't have to be an asshole or an animal-abusing nut about it. It's not as cathartic as warming up the ol' thirty-aught-six on everything that ruffles your precious little feathers, but again -- the Culture Of Life™ requires some basic modicum of effort. Such effort might even be a tad inconvenient to Your Lifestyle. Oh no!

I seriously believe that there is a deeper psychopathology at work here. Coming from "farm folk", I certainly realize that many, if not most, rural farmers consider any cat that's not keeping down the rat population in the barn to be little more than a rat itself. The rest of society, which has moved on from that dynamic, realizes that cats are sentient, intelligent animals, capable of affection, and deserving of consideration roughly equal to dogs. Certainly not that of squirrels and possums.

Whether someone is a "cat person" or a "dog person" (a useless and deceptive dichotomy to begin with) is beside the point. This is just another City Mouse vs. Country Mouse issue, writ small. The city folk are agog that people don't love their Fluffums as much as they do, that they resent assholes who let their pets wander around and fuck up their neighbors' property; the hicks have their backs up once again (practically a permanent stance at this point), because them ten-fingered sumbitches think they're soooo fuckin' smart.

Not to mention the obvious fact that this would give every creepy, sadistic piece of shit out there a get-out-of-jail-free card. Nice going, assholes.

So. Cat owners, get your shit together, once and for all. I have cats too; I know exactly how it is. But if your pet is really like your kid, then treat him as such. Don't leave him out all night. Keep an eye on where he goes; if he keeps going over to your neighbor's garden, then prepare to have an indoor cat, and deal with it. Spay or neuter your cat. Quit acting like it's a goldfish you can flush the second it becomes an inconvenience. Like you really have anything better to do anyway; you were just going to watch American Idol, and you fucking well know it. It's amazing that you have to tell people to have some goddamned respect for their neighbors, but there ya go. Anyone who says people are stupid is wildly misunderestimating the situation.

And yokels, take a deep breath. You're getting all weirded out about cats. Okay? Calm the fuck down already, quit marrying your cousins, and fucking grow up. You have the right to own guns. You even have the right to defend your property and lives with said guns. A cat shitting in your garden or walking across your sacred piece-of-shit-mobile is not something that needs to be resolved with splattering said cat across the road.

So if you're gonna do it, then at least be honest about it, and do it in front of your kids, and in front of the cat's owner. Hopefully it's a little girl, and you can explain to her what a problem-solving tough guy you are.



vonKreedon said...

As I said when this issue was brought up in the Fray Presidential campaign, since we have largely eliminated the natural songbird predators, the weasels, wild cats and snakes, it is really fortunate that we brought feral cats with us. If these people succeed in eliminating the feral cat population we will see a songbird population surge that will naturally lead to calls for a songbird hunting season. Best to spay/neuter the cats we can catch and let the remaining feral cats keep the songbirds under control than to let songbird hunters lose in your neighborhood.

scout prime said...

Our Governor has said he will veto any cat killin law. Please let's move on now. Let our embarrassing moment be over.

Craig Heath said...

I think that is a reasonable request from scout prime. If we don't hear of kitties caught in a triangulation of crossfire, it'll be over.

Heywood, re: "the Culture Of Life™ requires some basic modicum of effort. Such effort might even be a tad inconvenient to Your Lifestyle. Oh no!"

Just our little story - our three cats have access to indoors and out and stay in our yard (for the most part), but last year we had to trap a feral tom that was attacking our fluffy-wuffums and eating their food. I don't know if he was killing songbirds. Seems we had a lot of them.

Anyway - it was a hassle. Took numerous tries - placement of the trap, bait, etc. Missed him a couple of times, more attacks on our beloved fur ball machines, then finally got him in a humane trap we rented. Beautiful cat, in part because of his very wildness. Turned him over to the shelter where he was neutered in the hope of a home, release or euthanasia if not, at the discretion of those who took ultimate responsibility.

Gosh, sure would have been easier if I could have popped a cap in his ass.

Heywood J. said...

Yeah, the songbird brigade loses me -- I've never seen a big white-and-purple blob of cat shit on my car.

I like the way Scout put his argument, but I submit that the fact that the vote got as far as it did means that the goofballs had to be browbeaten back. Sometimes stupid people have to be told they're stupid. Usually a yard implement is helpful in such an endeavor.

Craig, you have built up some significant karma for yourself, just by making that extra effort. There will be an extra bowl of Cap'n Crunch (or, if you prefer, Count Chocula) awaiting you when you transcend this material plane and hit the 39th æthyr, as foretold in Liber XLVII. That is the plane of the cat folk, so recognized by its constant freshly-changed-litter-box aroma.

Orange juice will also be served.

unixlinux said...

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