html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Hypothetical question.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Hypothetical question.

If you were packing for a quick weekend home and you were cleaning your kitchen, and if you stepped outside to take kitchen scraps to the compost, and if the freakin' loud cat that had been hanging out in your side yard were there, and if, this time, the tom did not run away when you stood there and instead stretched his neck for a scratch, and if you happened to notice that he really did have a lovely silver undercoat and white paws, and if you also noticed that he was bones under mangy skin and if you saw that he wasn't neutered and had no collar, and if you knew by his presence that he could survive cars on your busy street, and if you had coaxed a purr out of him, would you then put out a bowl of food so that he had the strength to return to his owners?


Blogger redfoxtailshrub said...

And then did you say "isn't him a kittums"? I hope so. I like this quote from Boswell's Life of Johnson:

I never shall forget the indulgence with which he treated Hodge, his cat: for whom he himself used to go out and buy oysters, lest the servants having that trouble should take a dislike to the poor creature. I am, unluckily, one of those who have an antipathy to a cat, so that I am uneasy when in the room with one; and I own, I frequently suffered a good deal from the presence of this same Hodge. I recollect him one day scrambling up Dr. Johnson's breast, apparently with much satisfaction, while my friend smiling and half-whistling, rubbed down his back, and pulled him by the tail; and when I observed he was a fine cat, saying, 'Why yes, Sir, but I have had cats whom I liked better than this;' and then as if perceiving Hodge to be out of countenance, adding, 'but he is a very fine cat, a very fine cat indeed.'

This reminds me of the ludicrous account which he gave Mr. Langton, of the despicable state of a young Gentleman of good family. 'Sir, when I heard of him last, he was running about town shooting cats.' And then in a sort of kindly reverie, he bethought himself of his own favourite cat, and said, 'But Hodge shan't be shot; no, no, Hodge shall not be shot.'

6:24 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I certainly did not offer call a stray cat that I barely know and may or may not invite to live with me by an endearment. That would be forward, and it isn't clear that we are that close.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous redfoxtailshrub said...

Ah, indeed, I cannot fault you there.

6:57 PM  
Blogger susan said...

Well, if he starves to death because you don't feed him, doesn't that qualify as one of your but-for-causation situations?

Yes, offer him a meal or two, to get him back to full vigor and whatnot.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

How could anyone possibly say no after that setup?

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the first step down the slippery slope to crazy cat lady. Be very careful, and don't forget my favorite parasite: toxoplasma gondii.


P.S. Before posting this, I did a quick search for "crazy cat gentleman," because I've only heard of female cat hoarders. From Slate:
Dooley Worth and Alan M. Beck conducted what may have been the first survey on the issue in New York City in 1981. They found that two-thirds of the obsessive collectors were women and that 70 percent were single. Cats and dogs were the most commonly stockpiled pets, and women were proportionally more likely than men to acquire cats. (Subsequent research has found that people do occasionally hoard farm animals, rabbits, horses, and birds, but not as often as cats and dogs.) Worth and Beck found that animal hoarders tended to be somewhat isolated, but this seemed to be the result—and not the cause—of their large pet collections.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course you feed him, he's a cute little kitty cat.


8:41 PM  
Blogger billo said...

Loud cat? No, not after reading Desperate Characters!

11:03 PM  
Blogger Noel said...

I'm sure the food will give him the strength to last the weekend till his owner returns (i.e. you, by the act of feeding).

If a tom isn't neutered before sexual maturity they are likely to retain nasty tomcat behaviour (spraying, fighting) even if they are subsequently neutered. So they probably won't make a particularly nice pet. I think if you are going to feed the mog you have to take full responsibility for it (none of this 'I just feed it but won't pay the vet bills' crap). The best thing to do it take it an animal shelter. They should check him for a microchip, treat him for fleas etc, and chop his balls off. You can come back in a few weeks and ask the staff what his personality is like, and then decide if you want to try introducing him into your home.

[gf is a vet who works for the RSPCA -- the main animal charity in the UK.]

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not neutered. Mangy skin. Bony. Doesn't sound like he has owners. Perhaps contact one of those feral cat organizations - they do catch and release with some neutering, vaccinations, etc. A lot of diseases are passed between cats via fighting, and we don't need more feral cats. Or take on the task yourself. But I wouldn't introduce a wild and possibly diseased cat to your home if you have other cats.

3:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pfft, why would you want to take this happy cat and throw him in a shelter? If she doesn't want him, just let him stay free. Animals shouldn't be caged up, they don't seem to like it.


8:44 PM  
Anonymous ed said...

I wouldn't feed that cat. You'd be aiding and abetting his genetic imperative to procreate and generate way more feral hungry cats.

I say get a dog. That's what ended up solving our feral cat problem.

10:37 PM  
Blogger billo said...

Justin, you are quite right. Once a stray came to our house. She would imitate us (copy cat). So, in the morning when I would walk up and down the lawn with my mother the cat would walk in line with us, turning in sync. as well (like a well trained army!).

For two weeks I gave her some cream (not easy to find in those days)and then stopped doing so. It is the nature of strays to dance in and out of people's lives...

11:04 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

If I do decide to take on Silver, I would take him to the vet straightaway, to get neutered and de-wormed. And then he would probably do what he is doing now - hang out in my yard and on my front porch, except with indoor privileges and more purring.

But I haven't made any decisions yet.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Thelonious_Nick said...

"This is the first step down the slippery slope to crazy cat lady. Be very careful, and don't forget my favorite parasite: toxoplasma gondii."

If Megan has owned cats in the past, as I know she has, she is almost certainly already infected with toxoplasmosis. Another cat now won't make any difference.

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"she is almost certainly already infected with toxoplasmosis. Another cat now won't make any difference."

Good point. Most of the risk seems to be with becoming infected while pregnant, as opposed to being infected before becoming pregnant.

The schizophrenia and the behavioral changes are the interesting effects, though.


11:01 AM  

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