Sunday, May 13, 2012
Ever watch that rather weird teevee show, The Prisoner. I saw bits and pieces of it back when it was running on, I think, UNC-TV. This was long ago. I probably never saw a whole episode, but I don't think that really mattered much. The premise was that this guy, possibly a British secret agent, had been spirited away to a prison camp which was designed to appear to be a comfy resort, where everyone was happy and having a great time. In each episode the hero discovers, somewheres along the half-way mark, that something is askew. He finds a cushion out of place that he left just so on purpose. He discovers that there's a camera in his ceiling. Another "inmate" whispers something to him, then disappears. There are countless variations on this theme of discovery, but at the end of each episode the hero (played by Patrick McGoohan) finds himself back at square one, in his nicely appointed bungalow, while unseen observers discuss his case.
So anyways, we've discovered that we are actually hostages of a feral cat colony which has been living here for an unknown number of months, unknown to us. Last evening, as dusk fell and Greg Biffle led the parade around Darlington, I went outside and looked down the driveway to where I'd parked my truck, sos I could do some mowing earlier. On top of my truck was a large silhouette--a cat's head and ears, his body shape directly behind. He was at rest, just looking. At me. I couldn't make out any of his features. I figured, though, that he was the big yellow tom. Libby later shone a flashlight in his direction and confirmed my theory.
Charlie Company might be viewed as a small invasion force, the first to make it inside our inner compound. (Except of course for the squirrels who live in the ceiling in the winter months, but they are a third force, and if anything good comes of our colonization it might be that squirrels make good meals for feral cats.) This, at least, would be the creationist logic of the situation, as opposed to visions of Newtonian entropy too depressing to savor on my meger two days away from my retirement
job. It's sort of like saying, "isn't it amazing how grapefruit all have the same number of sections. There must be a Creator." Versus something I saw the other night on the History Channel--where they were talking about Earth-like planets and someone asked, "well, how long would it take to get to one of those planets from here," and the answer was, "um, er, between 50 and 100 thousand YEARS." Which sorta takes the shine off the notion that we have alternatives "out there." Sartre was right.
I'm not sure that here in rural Chatham County we have much of a support system for them what wants to intervene in a feral cat colony, beyond the Old Ways (e.g., Mr. Yellow Tom provided a fine if silhouetted target, and I probably could have taken him out without much risk to my windshield). Here's a couple of youtubes of what people in more progressive realms do. It's pretty interesting for the cultural information, as well as for the information about feral cat colonies, imho (as the bloggers like to "say").
I like the "drop trap" idea. As a movie I mean. I like how you can watch the colony at work, the momma and her adolescent charges. It worries me some, that latter part of the vid, where you have to get each individual cat into a smaller carrier from the bigger group confinement area. That part where you have to have one foot just so on the bigger trap, then put a foot on the smaller trap, with the box of rocks set just right on the tab at the back. That's a juncture in the procedure where there might be problems humorous from a camera's eye point of view to be sure, but related to the bullet hole in the windshield problem discussed earlier.
So we find ourselves now looking past the three boys, careening around our former living room with the speed of Sprint Cup racers, while the race itself unfolds on the screen, indeed, stopping to watch the cars now and then before some rustle or quick movement from another brother distracts them. Now it's about trapping these creatures who live Out There, who are bringing Out There to our very doorstep. Libby fed the momma at 2 AM. She stood guard at the door so the yellow tom would not steal Momma's food. She then researched the best trap some more on-line. We are told that some local stores carry knock-off versions of these traps which tend to fail. Above all, we don't want to teach these invaders that they'd best beware of food in a shiny box. Our hope is that if we get Momma neutered, the toms will be less interested in hanging around. We can deal with her--an outside cat, per se, is easier than an inside one.
We might have to take Momma to some more "civilized" county when and if we do manage to capture her. There's not much sign of a human culture here in Chatham County which resembles the people depicted in the two videos posted above. But then, we are amongst only 8 counties in our whole state which voted against the No Equal Marriage Constitutional Amendment which just passed here in North Carolina. Maybe in this small regard the google does not know all. We'll certainly ask around. Some places, like Ocracoke, NC and Seattle WA, cherish their feral cat colonies. We don't live there I don't think. Here such colonies are more viewed as new vectors for rabies, which already thrives in raccoon and fox populations.
Put 'er in warp drive, Scottie.