Monday, December 27, 2010

Fremont Street Cats

The first major Nor'easter of the winter moved in last night, and is slowly pulling back up the coast to the Gulf of Maine and beyond. I've always enjoyed a snowstorm, particularly one as windy as this one. The coast took a major hit, with flooding in Salem, Revere and all the way down past Boston to the Cape. The damage in Winthrop did not look inconsequential. The waves at high tide must have been quite a sight.

At 5:30 this morning, I woke up, pulled my clothes on and promptly fed the dog. Little Annie. How I love her. Then I look out over the back stoop and couldn't see anything, with the snow caught in the screen. On went my shoes and out I went. A snow dune was pressed against the back door, and I shoveled it away, making a space for the feral cats in the neighborhood to find the fresh bowls of water and food that I will put out.

The wind is strong, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, and snow is still coming down. The fresh pack revealed not a single cat print, or evidence of life of any kind. They're out there, huddled under stoops and cars. When they are able, they'll find food at my back door. For now, they are hiding from that merciless wind.

Why are there so many out there? A black cat come by frequently for food and attention. He is beautiful. There is a gray cat, and two tabby cats who also visit. I think of them often when the weather is like this, and the lack of consistency in human compassion disturbs me. Many people apparently see pet ownership as something very different from how I see it.

As soon as a dog or cat is welcomed into your home, he or she is bound to you. If it suffers in the cold, it's the owners fault. If it goes hungry, fights with other cats, has kittens...all the owners fault. I imagine that these people think of themselves as good, and caring, and loving to animals. How do they edit out this act of neglect?

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