Intro by Michael: this is a comment from Dana in Silicon Valley, California, USA, about helping feral cats which I have upgraded to an article because I think it touches a nerve. It certainly does for me. As I see it, it is about modern life and how it is is more brutal and competitive and how it has distanced itself from nature.
“What does not fit in, is out.” I live in narcissistic superficial, trendy Silicon Valley and more and more I feel like the old timer with the old dog in “Of Mice and Men.” I have lived in my condo for over 13 years and no one ever ratted to the HOA (Homeowner Association – apartment management) that I fed 4 fixed feral cats (I have helped home so many others, those that could be homed).
Now I am down to 2 old toms cats. A new yuppie type couple moved in diagonally across from me and the guy is all polite and smiles while badgering me to stop feeding these last 2 because “its a public area and they bring fleas and disease.”
I moved one cat to another feeding area per his request but hoped that if I picked up food and other signs of his existence more carefully after the one on my door step it would be enough of an improvement in relations. No. Another knock on the door. Its not about picking up the food before nightfall or cleaning up the poop. Its the fleas – he insists the fleas are assaulting him every time he leaves his house.
My common sense feeling is a) I doubt it and b) it’s the OUTDOORS. It has bugs. And if it doesn’t stop “I’ll have to contact HOA”. He said it with a smile I’d like to wipe off his face.
Meanwhile, he owns a yappy dog that I have never complained about, because I am “live and let live”. But HOA will side with him, I’m nothing but an ageing outlaw “catwoman” – trying to survive in an over crowded area with manic values, that is building on every available postage stamp sized lot these days, bulldozers tearing up the earth for profit, adding to congestion for the sake of the almighty $ – while trying to offer food to two apparently worthless Toms.
This couple is everything I can’t stand about this valley: unforgiving, no heart. If its not young, sanitized, trendy and the latest and you’re not keeping up its “wrong”. That’s how I feel some days and I think feral cats have become a symbol of that, just like the aging dog in “Of Mice and Men.” Shoot it, euthanize it. It doesn’t belong, it serves no purpose, put it out of OUR misery (a feral cat survives for its own sake, not ours. I think that angers a lot of people who feel they should control everything in their environment. A cat does not exist for them).
And by the same token…if its human, price it out of the valley if it doesn’t fit in and conform. Ironically, trendy ole Silicon Valley has been and still is home to many industries (including military — though I’m not trying to wax political here!) that have done much to destroy the environment locally and abroad.
And yes, some of this money-making chaos includes indirectly the promoting of disease and fleas elsewhere! But its so much easier to focus on a poor frumpy old cat and make it the scapegoat isn’t it? Rather than look at our own part in the planets woes.
PS: I believe in fixing cats, and I prefer they live indoors these days for the sake of the birds – and they’re own safety, people are cruel – but the ferals are no more dirty and diseased then the rest of nature – nature is sloppy and beautiful and imperfect. Unfortunately this valley is all about money, shopping mauls, clogged dirty highways, smog, and owning the latest piece of manufactured shiny-ness to prove you’re own worthiness in the eyes of your fellow consumers. Those of us barely keeping up, such as little old ladies and cats are looked down on. Very sad.
Photo source: gkimagery.com – thanks.