Friday, October 07, 2005

Born Free

I've been keeping my cat, Tiger, on a leash in the backyard for three days now. This is in response to my neighbour across the way who all but exploded last week after chasing Tiger away from her front drive for the umpteen millionth time. My neighbour--call her Gail--has a "beer tent" that she erects in front of her house during the summer, and she likes to sit there during the day drinking beer and watching the birds that gather at her feeder. She's been complaining that Tiger has scared away all the blue jays and morning doves; all she gets now are chickadees. It's really been pissing her off, and just last week-end she threatened to call Animal Control on me.

Steeltown by-laws state that you must keep cats on your own property, and I could face a hundred and thirty dollar fine if my neighbour goes through the trouble of filing a complaint. Tiger is a good cat. He came into my life earlier this summer, quite unexpectedly, as a stray. Long time readers of Fakiegrind might remember the full story. For my birthday, my parent's paid for the cat to be fixed and get his shots. Just a few days ago, I forked over seventy bucks for prescription flea medication for the critter. I've been phoning around, doing everything I can to find another home for him. He grew up an outdoor cat, and it's very difficult to keep him inside all the time. Also, the place is too small, and Tiger gets into territorial disputes with the other, older cat who lives here.

So stress has been mounting, these past few days. My housemate complains about the smell of the kitty litter in the bathroom. I feel like I can't really go anywhere because I'm worried that the cat will get tangled up on his leash. Tiger has been getting more and more irate (as you can see in the last picture of the preceding posting). He's been biting me in a more than playful way, getting a little nasty. I've had no luck finding a new home for him; I was even ready to fly out to Ottawa to leave him with my sister, but alas! So tonight I was sitting on the edge of the bathtub with the leashed Tiger on my lap, combing the dead fleas and dried blood out of his fur with a special comb. I looked into his animal eyes and just couldn't do it any more. I removed the harness, scratched behind his ears, opened the kitchen door, and let him escape out into the night.

Who am I to keep a beautiful, wild beast locked up in the bathroom like a prisoner? Tiger had a life of his own long before he showed up in the back yard. I set the alarm to wake me up early, so I can attempt to put him back on the leash (if he's around) before Gail checks on the status of her precious morning doves. I have a feeling, though, that there is further trouble brewing. It costs seventy dollars just to leave a cat with the Humane Society, where he may or may not find a new owner before being put down. I did the neighbourhood a service by getting Tiger fixed, thus curbing the proliferation of more generations of stray cats. However, everyone thinks of him now as my cat, my responsibility, my problem. I really don't know what to do. I tried to make Gail happy, but in the end, I don't think she will find satisfaction over this issue. And I would like to keep Tiger, but the universe may not be moving in that direction.


mgc said...

that is quite a dilemma. maybe what ever happens happens. besides seen one friggin bird seen them all. maybe gail needs to partake of a little more adult beverage and not be so uptight.

flatlander said...

She is kind of uptight. I'm sure it will work out somehow. Tiger is back on his leash this morning. Maybe I will just let him run free under cover of darkness.

mondo retro said...

that's so sad. :( what a beautiful kitty tiger is! i held off on getting a kitty because i live in the city, and i was against having an inside cat. i think they should be able to hunt and have adventures outside. but, fate handed me Gertie, so inside she stays. she scratches at the window sometimes, like, "lemme out! there's stuff going on out there!"

your neighbor sounds like she's a real pip. :/ *sigh*