Getting to Know the Local... Cats
Now Smash is back in my life, things are back to normal. He's still a little traumatized, I think, with no interest whatsoever in going outside, but he's relaxed and more like himself.
The whole episode gave me a lot of time to reflect on things - in fact, I couldn't possibly do anything else over the four days other than think about him.
Well, I'm not going to bore Steem with the details of my new refreshed appreciation for the things we hold dear and all that garbage - which did happen - and instead talk about all the cats in my immediate area, with whom I have become very familiar. I've known them for some time, but being on the streets looking for Smash for several days meant becoming almost conversational with them.
Not actually smashes brother, this cat hangs out in the same bamboo area and looks pretty darn similar to Smash. This isn't that amazing however, given how unremarkably common Smash actually is.
Born of a common street cat, he was born at my friend's place on Chinese New Year's Eve and has lived a non-street cat lifestyle ever since. But it's in his blood. This was made obvious by the fact that the posters I put out looking for him were practically useless since 70% of the cats in the neighbourhood look just like him.
But Smash's brother lives in visual proximity and the untrained eye will easily get them confused. Hint: Smash is much fatter.
The Cute Orange One
This one came as a trio once. It was best friends with two other street cats who were certainly siblings, with the same age, size, looks, and temperament. The three of them were inseparable until one day, one of the siblings vanished. Soon after, I noticed the second was deeply hurt; its tail had seemingly been boiled or melted off, with nothing but a completely stiff, rotten shaft in its place, and a heavy limp.
I did all I could to try and grab it, but the bamboo area is private property and the shed roof it typically hung out at was simply out of reach, and easily escapable should a slow human go for grabs.
I got a rescue person involved but by the time he was available, I never saw again. This was just as my cat anti-biotic treatment had arrived which I was planning on mixing with food I had been flicking at it for some days to gain its trust.
Anyway, the orange one is best friends with two corpses, is my point.
Chompy is my other cat. She's too young to have an account on Steem like @smashthecat.
Chompy has alarmingly soft fur, and when asking my vet if that would go away with age, he said no, it's a result of a combination of fur from parents, probably one particularly long-haired mother.
I rescued Chompy from the middle of a highway at midnight maybe 1.5km from home. That's not far, I walked with her on my shoulder. I figured the mother wouldn't mind given the circumstances. She was probably kasplat anyway.
Now I'm not so sure. A very, very fluffy version of Chompy hangs around here and I've decided it's definitely the good-for-nothing parent. No snacks for her.
She does look pretty darn cool though.
Not often seen, not very interesting. Just a Ginger Cat.
Probably the most interesting and certainly the ugliest of the bunch, Big Boss is fearless of other cats and humans alike. Unlike any other cats here, he does not simply lie around within visual range of my balcony and doesn't even limit himself to the street. In fact, he seems to control half of the entire neighbourhood.
I have seen him in the bamboo garden, around the far side of the building, on the main street a good 5 minutes walk away, lazing around on people's garden structures and rooftops, and generally just walking around like there's no traffic waiting for him to cross the street. He even has the balls - literally - to waltz into my own home, casually foxtrot his way to the food bowl and help himself to a meal, all while I'm watching him with Smash and Chompy weirdly indifferent about this intrusion.
I was ok with it until he started marking his territory on all my doors and walls. I told you he had the balls. Even though I chase him away, he takes his sweet time 'running' away. It's more of an amble away, really.
He'll come back later at the window and make insulting meowing gestures out of spite, but at the end of the day, he's a nice cat. He's just exceedingly ugly and arrogant.
Big Boss makes me see the cat world with a bit of perspective. Owners of cats will always insist their cats have unique personalities, and you will always insist that's just BS. But think about it.
Smash went missing for a few hours, and I was extremely worried. After 3 days or so? Terrified.
If Chompy was to go missing, I wouldn't feel a fraction of this fear. A born hunter, she could happily survive on bugs caught from mid-air, fend off other cats and slip away from any difficult situation. She would be fine with or without me.
Smash is useless. As I said in my post, a total prince who only dines at the finest bowls in his own private residence. No wonder he came home and binged.
Big Boss on the other hand, has been homeless presumably his whole life, but he doesn't see it that way at all. The neighbourhood, maybe even the city, is his home. He's the richest of all. He can eat whatever he wants, with humans willingly serving him on silver plates with no expectation of remunerataion. Slaves to his will.
He is totally free, quite chunky and healthy, and gets to explore all the nooks and crannies of this secretive area of Shanghai all he wants. He has lots of friends; humans and cats alike. I've even seen him in other cat communities; past the borders of where the familiar group I know changes into a realm of strange, unfamiliar cats. What's 'homeless' about that?
Big Boss is the Diogenes of Shanghai. This Kynikoi is a world apart from the likes of Smash, living on completely opposite ends of the spectrum, Smash being the passers-by on whom Diogenes might urinate.
So next time you feel like belittling someone's cat, maybe take a look in the mirror. You are certainly comparable to another feline out there, somewhere.
Though, I bet most have had a hell of a lot more life experience than you.