Friday, September 21, 2007

The Scrab

Name: Hardscrabble
aka "The Scrab" or "Scrabsie"
Species: Felis silvestris catus
(also known as the domestic cat)
Variety: Orange mackerel tabby

Hardscrabble is a male, semi-feral orange tabby kitten; born, we think, several months ago in our East Trenton neighborhood, of Liz Jr., an attractive, fluffy gray cat of ill-repute: she likes playing the field, if you know what I mean. She is very smart and savvy; elusive with humans, but we hope to catch the little hussy very soon and end her kitten-bearing days.

Hardscrabble is named for a family member's affinity for that word, and because the little orange guy is in for a rough life, unless we can get him adopted. We've put the cage outside, in plain view, so he gets used to seeing it there; we hope to lure him into it with some yummy food soon, and get him to the vet. I sit with him a few times a week to socialize him (though I've been told my social skills are questionable), and while I have not been able to touch him with my own hands yet, he allows me to touch him with his toys. I'm hoping this makes him feel more comfortable around people -- or at least me -- so if we can find him a home, he won't be too miserable among people.

(Blogger's note: Our lawn is horrible. I know. Hopefully by the end of this weekend, the lawn will be gone, and instead, we will have an awesome patio, suitable for our trendy urban backyard...I mean our kittyland day care centre.

It is thought that tabby cats (that is, those with a distinctive coat that features stripes, dots, and/or swirling patterns -- it isn't a breed) are the original domesticated cats, before we bred them into the fluffy and/or hairless mess they've become. Tabbies are usually gray with black stripes, or orange with tan stripes, and each has a distinctive M in his/her forehead. Legend has it that a tabby cat kept the baby Jesus warm on a chilly night, and Mary, ever-grateful, put her mark upon the cat. Similarly, Islam has its own version of the story: a tabby saved Mohammed's life by warning him that a snake had crawled into his clothing, and it was he who bestowed his mark on tabbies. The word tabby comes from the French tabis, which came from the Latin attabi, by way of the Arabic Attabiyah, a quarter in Baghdad where a type of soft, striped silk is made, a term later used in Arabic to describe tabby cats.

I'm sure there are plenty of cat haters out there wondering why I bother. And then there are folks like "Ed" at the Trentonian's "Back Talk" department, who will question why the hell I don't get more involved with issues relating to people. To be honest, there are some days I don't know why I bother with cats either. It is endless and often emotionally draining; even after cleaning up, adopting out, bringing in upward of 10 cats in a short period of time, on our own, we have learned the hard way that there will always be more stray and/or feral cats. And here in Trenton, cats are tossed aside, because so many people are tossed aside. We, as a species, (I think) have it in our DNA to want to care for these creatures, as we've had a mutually beneficial relationship for ages; because of that, cats are acquired. But the reality is that life is difficult in this city, and people have a hard enough time taking take care of themselves, so cats are summarily abandoned. It's a nasty circle, but it speaks volumes about what's happening to people here, too.

Anyway, we have a perfectly good kitten here who will soon be cleaned up and sterilized and ready for a new home. It won't solve the problem with strays and ferals, and it won't make life easier for marginalized people. But it will improve the life of one being, Hardscrabble, and that, in and of itself, is a noble cause, and I think, ultimately improves society, if only in the tiniest way. It's better than doing nothing at all, and it will mean everything to The Scrab.


Brendage said...

Deuce, I can't believe how much the scrab has grown! He's one tough little MOFO and he's lucky to have yous guys. Hey may go on to have a lucrative Millwright career and 5 children - if he can combat his hardscrabble start.
B-spot out

Anonymous said...

That face! I want to bite him!

West End Girl