2006-05-10

Goodbye Cruel World, from a Small Black Cat

It's hard to be a saint in the city.

There's this neighbor that I have and I am pretty sure that she might be one of those people who left a significant number of brain cells in the Early Seventies.

She doesn't understand that I don't want to say hello at 6 am when I take the dog out but that, perhaps, I would be friendlier in the evening when I come home from work. Once I grunt a passing "Just talk woke no up. Go Rosie now potty," in the very early morning, she takes my disinterest personally and slams her door for the rest of the day.
Or she talks REALLY loud on the phone at 11:30 at night on a Tuesday, most likely about how The Man has screwed over the artists and how there's no hope for the free thinkers.
Which is original, you know?
I'm poor and it's someone else's fault.

Please.
I'm no Republican but I can't deny economic principals. This is Capitalism. Go make more money. If you are healthy and you live in the United States, nobody owes you a damn thing - not your State, not your neighbors, not your parents, and certainly not your Republic.
In the USA, you have a right to work as much as you want to work; I know a hugely successful artist who has money swimming from his ears and he teaches as part of an alternative art school.
I know talented local artists who take projects that they don't really want to take so they can pay for hybrid cars and big houses downtown.
I know still more artists who are broke but who laugh about it, probably because they are infinitely talented and there's no seed of poor confidence in their abilities.
Then there are artists like me, who go to work every day and who do not begrudge the fact that I chose an easier road to health insurance.

But this woman next door to me.... I was cleaning up the courtyard a bit one day and she was outside trying to communicate with a butterfly or something and I said, "You're an artist, right?"
"I WAS, until I found out TUCSON is so UNSUPPORTIVE of ARTISTS."
One single sentence gave her away as being untalented, lazy, or too bitter to ever be successful.

Because Tucson?
I've never seen a city this big be so supportive of the arts, especially local art. Tourism supports that, too, but even in my Eastside, Corporate job... there are people who only purchase local furniture or who have a booming photography career on the side. In Tucson, you are always only one degree away from a full-time, working artist.
One of the major rollerderby stars?
She's the education outreach coordinator for a very big and very well-known theatre group.

To say that Tucson's art community is closed-minded and not supportive is just a lie. I could get "work" hung up in any local coffee house and trust me, besides singing, there's one other thing I flat-out can't do - drawing. Tucson just expects that residents will be interested in local art. It's one of the reasons that I live here.

But she ALWAYS goes on about unsupportive Tucson, competitive arts community, failed society, and blah blah blah.
I've taken my time to grow my disdain for her, based on the fact that to the inattentive ear, she makes me sound like a conservative. Plus, one Satruday afternoon, I was hanging a picture and she came over and rudely asked what I was doing. It was too much noise while she was trying to write.
Bitch, please. Can you recommend a better time than Saturday afternoon to me? I have no words. None.

So anyway, here's the nail in her Sarah Coffin. She feeds the stray cats.
And that's fine.
But she has no inclination of vaccinating them or neutering them and she often leaves town for a week, sometimes weeks in the plural, to go pretend like its 1970 and Renaissance Fairs are novel.

She was recently gone for like a month and she asked a different neighbor to feed them and then, I swear to Jesus, she complained that they looked skinny when she got back. FYI, when she left, the average temperature was 70. When she got back the average temperature was 95. Who isn't skinnier - animal, vegetable, or mineral around here? Who?
But about really caring for strays, vaccinations and altering and all of it; the other neighbors and I can't do it, financially. Two other neighbors have taken in one stray kitten per household and I have taken on an abandoned cat who's very old - I know the people who left him and I know he's fixed and that he got updated for shots in November before they left. I watch out for him and try to get the mats out of his fur and I will probably take him for shots in November but as for the rest of them... I have three pets of my own.

I put water out for the strays but there's no trough in front of my door. They are cats and there are tons of birds around. This is capitalism so participate kitties. It's your patriotic duty.
Anyway, there's one kitten, a little black cat, who showed up and who is not right.
It's aggressive and its hair is falling out and yowls ALL the time.
I throw water on this cat because, while I doubt that it's rabid, I am sure there's something wrong with it.
We have spoken a couple of times about this cat and I've expressed more than once that none of the others can take it in but it needs medical attention.
I've mentioned how sick it looks.
I've told her that I refuse to feed it, no lie. I said that. "I refuse to feed that cat."

Finally, on Sunday, I came home and the cat was eating at her door.
I knocked.
"I have to call someone to deal with this cat. It's not okay."
She had a melt-down; a visibly-shaking melt-down.
She thinks it has flea allergies, that it's just a little bossy, that it's someone's kitten that got lost, that it's just hungry.
Then she pulled that "I'm older than you and know more about cats" bullshit on me. "I've had a lot of cats and THAT is a flea allergy."
Oh
No
You
Didn't.
I have watched WAY more Animal Cops on Animal Planet than anyone I know.
The cat needs to be scrubbed and dipped and healed; it does not need to be fed at 5:30 in the morning and I do not need to be woken up by it making disturbing growling noises when it's getting fed at 5:30 every morning.
Which brings me to my next point, Mrs. Cat Lady, cats don't make those growling noises when they are healthy and being fed by a person.

Let me tell you: there are four strays living on the property. All of them look healthy.
None of my pets or any of the neighborsí pets has ever had fleas and we don't treat them with anti-flea prevention. There just aren't fleas around. I've seen ticks but never fleas on animals at this property.
This cat is in bad shape and getting worse. It has no fur on its underside and it's losing the fur on its ears and on its back. It also had not grown at all.

Animals instinctively avoid sickness.
Guess what's happened with my cats? They've disappeared from their courtyard.
Maggie is inside all day long and Grace stays on the roof for two and three days at a time. I know this because I see her tail hanging down in front of the bathroom window once in awhile.
I'm not okay with a sick animal potentially making my pets sick and making them avoid their territory. I'm especially not okay with it when someone who won't take it to the vet is ARGUING with me that it has a right to be there and be fed. Obviously, I think that argument is horse shit.

So she freaks out on me and that makes me irate because... be reasonable.
1. The cat isn't well.
2. The Humane Society doesn't just kill stuff. They provide vet care to get the animal into adoptable shape. And people love to adopt animals.

That was Sunday. She wanted a couple of days to take the cat to her motherís.
On Monday, I walk out to the rental I've been driving this week and what do I see?
That fucking little cat run by me, that's what, and it has on a flea collar.
Timeís up.
Itís Wednesday and itís generously been a couple of days.

Right now, I can't stand that woman.
I mean, I CANNOT STAND her.
This is D-Day, though. If I see the cat, I'm making a phone call.
It needs vet care, probably itís going to need more vet care now that a chemical-laden collar is around its scabby neck.

Yeah.
That's super-humane, lady.
You're helping animals, alright.
And Tucson doesnít support local artists.
But you do live in Bizarro World, where everything the opposite is true and so I guess it really IS my fault that you think I am very young and very stupid and that you know everything about everything.

arizonasarah at 8:26 a.m.

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