Thinking about Skinny

I was feeling very alone yesterday. I was trying to get some work done at the tail end of a chaotic summer while the kids spend their last weekend before school starts at the country house with their dad. I was supposed to be focused on work, but instead I could only think about myself. So alone, I felt like inviting the cat we call Skinny, one of the three black and white cats around here, inside the apartment, just for some company. The other two black and whites are fat and glossy, and run away when the kids try to make friends, but Skinny doesn’t even wait for us to come to him. It takes him forever to walk over to us, he never runs, just picks his way over the gravel and sits down for a chat and some patting. Lately, the kids have been giving him food while I pretend I know nothing about it.

Fatty and Glossy appear to have homes, but I’m not as sure about Skinny. The guy in the basement apartment has placed an old wooden chair, a blanket and a bowl for food beside the door (it’s always empty), and Skinny can often be found there, though not looking quite as if he owned the place. I don’t think he ever goes inside; and I’ve never even seen basement guy – I think he’s a hermit. Skinny is often wet, he’s no more than skin and bones – probably has chronic renal disease – and has the thick claws and appalling teeth of an elderly cat. The claws are only on his hind paws, the top of the front toes have been amputated. It’s what we still call declawing, something I deeply regret having done to one of my own cats, many years ago.

I need to find out more about Skinny. I’ll have to be the cat-home police, and go knocking on basement guy’s door to ask questions. Is this remotely any of my business, I wondered yesterday as I contemplated inviting Skinny inside. Not a great idea – he’s dirty and has a runny nose, and my three cats will come to live here soon…

When it suddenly got cool and started to rain, I figured I should make it my business, so I went outside and and downstairs to see if he was there. When I reached the basement apartment door, there was Glossy sitting on the chair. He saw me coming and ran away to hide under (his?) porch. I couldn’t find Skinny.

It’s raining again tonight, as it has been most of the summer, and I’m thinking about Skinny. If he’s homeless, he won’t last through the fall (and I don’t think he’ll last through the winter even if he does spend it inside) so I do need to at least find out if he belongs to basement hermit guy. If he doesn’t, I’m not sure yet what I’ll do. It wouldn’t be right to take him to the SPA, because an elderly cat like that is not adoptable, and he never gave his consent to spend the last of his days in a 2 X 2 foot metal cage, even if the deal includes regular meals and a warm place to sleep. And that would be the best option to hope for – it’s more likely a medical evaluation would consider his chronic disease to be a motive for euthanasia.

Ah, it’s just another homeless cat…

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18 Comments on “Thinking about Skinny”

  1. Antonia Says:

    So, speaking of homeless cats, last week, through a friend of a friend who found three dogs chained, two dying and one dead on the island of Naxos, where part of my family came from in Greece, I ended up a remote control rescuer.

    I also discovered a wonderful charity in Toronto that specializes in the rescue of animals from Greece. The treatment of animals there is appalling.

    Poor Skinny. Somebody went to the expense of having him declawed (although misguidedly) so likely he is a stray. I am amazed a declawed cat can survive.

    Poor thing.

  2. LMA Says:

    You mentioned there is a chair, blanket and bowl outside your neighbour’s door. Maybe you could mention to him that you are concerned about Skinny making it through the winter and offer to put out a little cat house (something weather proof with blankets inside) next to the chair? That way, at least Skinny would be warm and dry. Sneak him some food too?

  3. mouthyorange Says:

    How awful. Skinny’s situation. I hope you can find a way to help him, within the balance of your own life and what you can do.

    And Antonia’s story is very upsetting, too. Except for the bit about that neat rescue organization, which I’ve also heard of.

    Sometimes I wish all the people would just evaporate, and the huge plastic nets we’ve left drifting around in the oceans that entangle sea animals, and the nuclear power plants that can never be shut down and that produce radiation, and the ever-spreading pavement and buildings everywhere suffocating and bruising the earth, and the industrially-distorted chemicals that have invaded pretty well all living bodies, and all the rest of our life-destroying creations would dematerialize, and leave the planet and its creatures to heal without us. Because sometimes I think it, and they, sure can’t heal with us. The human race is a mess. These days, we don’t even seem able to heal ourselves, let alone reach a point as a group where we start revering instead of desecrating life.

    Sorry about my downer. Turning my attention to the ways we make animals suffer always puts me into a downer.

    But the important thing is, you’re trying to figure out what you can do about Skinny, who is right there before you.

    I wish I was there; I’d try to help you with Skinny, somehow.

  4. brebisnoire Says:

    Yes, mouthyorange, those are the things that keep me up at night. The dwindling stocks of fish, the other animals crowded out of their habitat, and the ones we’ve domesticated and then destroyed. It’s a downer, and it’s probably why I focus on sad cases like Skinny, because he’s right there in front of my eyes. One of my cats is unusual because he’s a welcoming spirit – he greets and washes every stray I’ve temporarily adopted. I wish my other two cats were as open-hearted. (It’s also possible that his overbearing licking and welcoming is a form of dominance, but at least it’s friendly.)

  5. brebisnoire Says:

    LMA – that’s a great idea. I think I have a small doghouse kicking around the barn somewhere. I’ll suggest that to basement guy when I talk to him.

  6. brebisnoire Says:

    Ah, Antonia, that’s terrible about the Greek animals. I’ve heard even worse about Albania – roving bands of rabid dogs?
    Some cultures just haven’t got around to acknowledging animal suffering; maybe it’s because there’s too much human suffering and there’s not enough care to go around? I also think it has a lot to do with how deeply feminism has influenced a given society…

    We’re relatively lucky that way (and our climate makes us more aware of suffering – winter is our annual weather-related disaster, a predictable killer).

  7. mouthyorange Says:

    Yes, Skinny is right there in front of your eyes and his life is something you may be able to do some positive thing about. So it’s good!

  8. I hope that the doghouse is a dry warm place for Skinny at Hermit guy’s door.

  9. Antonia Says:

    A good friend died on Friday.

    She used to feed the feral cats that came round her garden. When she was out of town, which was often, she paid a neighbour to feed them.

    Now she’s gone.

    Poor cats.

    At the funeral home tonight, I overheard a conversation between some people, obviously neighbours, who were talking of rounding up the kitties and taking them to the humane society. I doubt many of them will be adopted.

  10. mouthyorange Says:

    Antonia, what part of the city? In case I know anyone who might be able to help in a different way.

  11. Oh God the Montréal woman (a blogger) who retired to Isla Mujeres where she fostered MANY beautiful stray kittens and cats was stabbed to death.

    There are articles about here in La Presse and The Gazette, with links to her blog which has pics of the stray cats. I’m sad about her and the stray cats (she also helped stray dogs, though I haven’t found pics of them).

  12. brebis noire Says:

    lagatta, I heard that on the radio, but didn’t know she fostered strays. That is such a horrible and worrisome story. I heard a quote from her blog – she sounded like a warmhearted woman with many friends back in Montreal.

    I need to post an update on Skinny…as soon as I get the time to put it together.

  13. mouthyorange Says:

    Hey brebis, are you around? I want to tell you something. (Intriguing? I hope!)

  14. brebis noire Says:

    Hey mouthyorange, I am indeed around, and intrigued! Sorry for this unpardonable absence, I’ve been busy doing shelter work lately, including relearning basic surgery, and that has squeezed all the remaining energy out of my brain cells.
    More on that later… but do tell!

  15. mouthyorange Says:

    Are you willing to e-mail me? Do so from some obscuring email address yourself if you wish! There’s something in it for ya …

  16. mouthyorange Says:

    … If you’d really rather not, I’ll find another way. But you’ll miss out on something!

  17. David J. Roof Says:

    I don’t think; I’m commenting in the right place, …but I wanted to acknowledge and thank you for your exposure and writing on “Vivisection.” I came upon it in my current work, a book on the way notions of mental abnormality shaped political uses and notions of intellect…. The connection is the use of Vivisection connected to the interest in cerebral localization following Gall, such as Gustav Fritsch and Eduard Hitzig famous work “On the Electrical Excitability of the Cerebrum,” and many “researchers” all …This work is now understood by historians as politically motivated and useless. It shares a connection to Herbert Spencer, -social Darwinism… I argue their work obstructed medical advancement, because of the political to attach instinct to intellect and heredity… I could go on and on…

  18. brebis noire Says:

    Thank you David, for commenting! I am glad to know that someone has found their way to my historical overview of Antivivisectionism.

    Studying the history of vivisection and how it has formed the basis of modern technological society was an eye-opener to me, and has had an impact on just about everything I do and think. Including the value of research as a whole, in terms of what we often erroneously believe to be important or valuable. Politically motivated research is certainly part of that, though I’m not well-versed in political history.

    Thanks for checking in; I hope to get back to blogging soon, in order to document my current experiences as a shelter/low-cost sterilisation vet.

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