25 March 2008

Cat Rant

So, my neighbors have this cat. And when I say "have" I mean they have a basket, outside of their door, in which it slumbers. They also feed it cuts of meat I cannot afford to feed myself, and it is these bits that I see on the landing outside of my apartment on a regular basis. I figured at some point I would write about this cat. Today is that day, because I am in the middle of a hundred-page reading about the history of the Talmud, and I need a break.

Earlier in the year, when I arrived, the cat had just survived a fight. I wouldn't say that it was victorious, but it did manage to escape with both of its eyes, a feat in the Jerusalem cat-fighting arena. That being said, my neighbor cat lost a bit of one of its ears and looked generally nauseating, even if you like cats, which I don't. This cat also remains the kind of off-gray that can only come with wandering the streets all the time.

There's a few things I don't get about this cat. First of all, I cannot comprehend why people keep cats as pets in general (Sorry to family members and family members of Rafi, I just don't get it.). All the more so in Jerusalem, when there are like 10 million of them roaming the streets, for the sole purpose of reproducing (loudly) and jumping in and out of garbage dumpsters. Further, if you are going to have a cat as a pet, why keep it in a basket outside of your house, and NEVER let it inside? During the coldest days of winter, days when it was zero degrees Celsius, my heat was on, and I was wearing socks, sweatpants, long sleeves, sweatshirts, a snow hat and 2 blankets to bed, this stupid cat was sitting in its basket, now supplemented with a fleece and an umbrella to hold back the wind. If you are going to feed your cat trays of chicken breasts, shouldn't you like have a warm corner for it to slumber in the middle of winter? Finally, I am allergic to cats. This specific cat spreads allergen all over my front door area, and has attempted to enter our apartment in the past. This makes me angry, not mention sneezy.

Jerusalem cats are a real problem, and they are totally gross. Lots of these cats have one eye, or fur-free tails, and they can be seen EVERYWHERE. I mentioned a couple of months ago about the cats on campus at Hebrew U. Nothing makes your pizza or salad taste so good as when you are eating it with a stupid cat staring at you, waiting for you to drop a crumb, because of course there are cats indoors on campus. During a snow storm, there was a post on Janglo, an anglo website where you can list things for sale, and see announcements for classes and stuff. This post on Janglo reminded us to feed the poor cats who will not be able to find food during the snow storm, citing the cats as the reason there is not a mouse problem in Jerusalem. At least you can trap mice in traps.

Oh yeah, and one time the cat disemboweled a mouse and left a trail of organs from the bottom of stairs to our welcome mat. I think it was a warning. My friend Dave was nice enough to sweep away the organs, something for which I will forever owe him.

This cat has an attitude problem. It glowers at me every time I leave my apartment. "Get out of my space," it seems to be hissing. "You do not belong in MY house." Yes, cat, clearly you are paying tons of rent to make my front doorway a festering mess of cat food, fur and fury. Oftentimes, I say something like "nobody likes you" in baby-talk (so as not to truly hurt the cat's feelings, as I am not really a bad person) as I rush by the smelly feline on my way to miss the bus. I figure if its "owners" really liked it, then it would get to sleep inside.

A couple of days before Purim, I was walking out to miss the bus, as usual. The cat had made its way out to the stairs, as it was warmer and sunny, and this is where grungy, formerly-white, sort-of-owned cats go to enjoy the weather. As I walked down the stairs, I had to maneuver around the walking pile of dander, and I froze in my tracks. Why did I freeze? That horrible little feline had the nerve to reach out and swat at my leg. There was contact. I had avoided this cat, rushing by it on my way in and out of the apartment, and I would never in a million years touch a cat. But this cat, this half-eared, grungy, fine-meat-eating cat had the nerve to hit me.

This is the cat in its fleece basket, looking not so vicious. To the right, you can see the foil on which probably rested chicken livers or some other delicacy.

Purim came and I ran out wearing my jangly scarf. The cat bolted to action, running fearfully down our long driveway to avoid my dangerous-sounding scarf. I hadn't planned on a swat-related retaliation, but I have to tell you, it was nice to see it running so fast away from me.

I definitely will not miss this cat, or any Jerusalem cat, when I go back to the states.

1 comment:

Allison said...

i cannot believe that that cat would dare swat at you. after all your "nobody likes you" mumblings, you'd think he'd get the point.

and now it has its own fleece and umbrella - ahh! take the ugly thing inside!

i still shudder when i think of the mouse. another thanks here for dave and his sweeping abilities.