Vol. 12, No. 3,009 - The American Reporter - October 19, 2006

by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Corresponden
tSeattle, Wash.

Printable version of this story

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Here is the thrilling sequel to a story first publishe= d here in April. But first, a synopsis for new readers: Some little whil= e ago we became tired of finding our cat Huck at the door, barely ambulator= y after losing yet another fight with the local feral cat, a grey Persian w= hom we nicknamed Lion.

Huck, declawed and neutered by some previous owner, who then abandoned= him, was no match for a determined kitten, let alone a seasoned streetfigh= ter like the local bully.

A neighbor assured us that Lion, though handsome, was homeless and lived= in the bushes around the playing field that abuts our property in the rear= .

I called the Small Animal Control people and got a young woman, Officer = Williams, on the line. Could they help? They could help if the feral cat = had caused any property damage.

How does $1.000 for an eye operation sound? I asked. That is property = damage, said she.

They brought out a wire cage with a trap door which, aided by my grandso= n Ben, I finally learned to set.

The next morning I found I'd made a capture ... Huck.

Declawed, denatured, and I forgot to mention demented. The sheer stup= idity of Huck makes me wonder at times whether it is a good idea to have hi= m sleep on the foot of the bed.

The trap finally worked as planned. Lion walked into it at some time = during the night and I found him there, mewing piteously, at around seven = o'clock the following morning. I'd moved it to the narrow strip of grass= on the north side of the house; I carried it back to the patio outside my = door and asked Huck to come down and view the prey.

Now splendidly courageous, he crouched and growled furiously at the mere= sight of his old enemy. What Lion said in reply, if it was in fact a repl= y and not a general lament over the misfortune of capture, was inaudible bu= t certainly unprintable.

I called the small animal control people, meaning to find out when I cou= ld deliver the cat, but Officer Williams, a most sympathetic young woman, s= aid that they would come fetch him.

They sent a truck out in a few hours and took Lion. The truck was clad = in a sort of aluminum quilt and consisted of tiny oblong doors, just the si= ze of the wire cage trap. The agent, clapping the miserable cat into one of= these cells, said he'd be neutered and put up for adoption.

I thought: please let this not be a euphemism for "put to sleep," whic= h is itself a euphemism for "killed."

All that was then. This is now. Lion is back! How he got back is any= one's guess.

Did Officer Williams declare him rehabilitated and set him free? Was he= adopted by some sweet old soul in Queen Anne whom he then, with the famous= homing instinct of cats, abandoned for his old haunts? Who knows? But evi= dently I must rely upon my own devices to rid the neighborhood of this scou= rge.

Are there ethical problems here? I withdraw the question. Of course th= ere are. For you and me and other good people, there is always anethical pr= oblem.

But what, practically, are the options?

1. I could adopt Lion and try to make him a member of my househ= old.

Objection: Lion, though hungry for my expensive chow, would gladlydi= smember me for having sent him to the slammer.

2. I could capture him again, in a private trap, and then deposit= him on Vashon Island, hoping that he would never save up the sponduliks to= buy a ticket back on the ferry.

Objection: It is well known that Vashon Islanders are the most ailuropho= bic people on earth and would probably give the animal a free ride back to = the mainland.

3. The option that you will send to this e-mail address: doctorso= up1@juno.com

Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, writer, and Professor Emeritus ofCompara= tive Literature at Princeton University.

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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