April 2023

Unknown Editor #121

As you may know I have an antique car that that I drive for fun... not any long distances as the previous owner did not maintain it well. I store it in a Harbor Freight "poverty garage" for now. It is not cat-proof. Nearby feral cats decided that it would make a nice venue for their fight club, and urinated multiple times onto the car cover (luckily, not inside it, but at one point a cat did go in there and dropped a deuce on the passenger car mat).  Something had to be done.

I started by installing a cat alarm that makes noise after sensing motion. All this did was make the cats use a different wall to make their entrance.  I tried some "cat away" granules, that did nothing but add a minty overtone to the urine smell.  At that point it was time to begin trap-neuter-release process to scare off the local cats, reduce their reproduction and hopefully make them stink less.

I did not have a trap, so borrowed one from the local no-kill cat shelter, the Hermitage.  They will let you use a have-a-heart trap for free for two weeks.  I gifted them some cash in memory of my Quaker Mom, who never clipped a coupon in her life and would never accept anything for free, even those stupid address labels that everyone used to get in junk mail to shame them into donating to some charity.  Being a Quaker has other advantages, like never having to take off your hat to "honor" someone.  If you are in need of a cat, simply bring a cat-carrier to your local no-kill shelter and pick one out. Spring is kitten season, by the way.

Chillaxing at the Hermitage no-kill shelter

I put the cage in the "garage", loaded with a bowl tuna fish in the evening. Cats can smell tuna from a thousand miles away. A Ring camera confirms when a cat is lurking near the cage (usually the middle of the night). Here is the first cat I caught, seen the following morning of his incarceration.  He is an incredibly smelly tom cat.  He was still full of piss when I picked up the cage and the little bastard tried to spray me. I had to drive with the van windows down, the air-conditioner could not keep up with that smell.

Cat #1

The second half of the plan is to take the trapped beast to a place for fixing... I used the Santa Rita Veterinary Clinic in South Tucson.  They perform neutering for free, which is appreciated as it is in a relatively poor neighborhood.  I asked what the procedure costs ($65) so I gifted them $300 so I would stay ahead for a few cats.  In Arizona, giving money to certain charities actually pays YOU money, as you get full credit from your state taxes and write it off on your federal as well.  Mostly, this law was enacted to throw money at religious schools at the expense of private schools.  My household maximizes the educational part of this tax dodge by giving to a school on an Arizona Indian reservation, the kind of place where kids have to share a pencil. The Arizona tax credit law was the first in the nation in 1997, and a challenge went all the way to the Supreme court but was denied.  Thanks to BS like this, Arizona ranks #46 in education of the fifty states. 

Here's the clinic.  The white van in the photo is mine.  It is the kind of vehicle where a creepy-looking person can be arrested if he parks it in a school zone wearing a wife-beater shirt.  So I have to be careful....

The most direct path from my house to the clinic takes me on Interstate 9. Owing to the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, President Jimmy Carter began converting highways to kilometers instead of miles.  Ronald Reagan killed that idea, just like he killed the "five mile per hour bumper".  I19 remains the only metric highway in our country.  Carter  was the only engineer to serve as president, but unfortunate events of high inflation and hostages in Iran cost him the 1980 election. His post-presidential life is a model against which all others fall short. As of this writing, he is living at home under hospice care, possibly drinking box wine from a plastic Solo cup because he doesn't throw money around, nor care about being rich. I'll bet my entire bitcoin portfolio that his recycle bin contains only proper recyclable materials and the containers are all rinsed out.  Everyone should try to live a bit more like our 39th president.

America's only metric highway

The clinic keeps the victim overnight, you pick it up the next day between 9 and 11 AM.   I release them where they were caught, just to give them a second impression of why they should not mess around my automobile.  So far no cat has been caught twice!

In case you were wondering, here is a description of neutering a male cat. Once his cojones are removed, he is going to be a kinder gentler furball. When you spay a female, her ovaries are removed and she will be less flirtatious during Tucson's annual Spring "Catnado" reproductive event.

Here is Cat #2.  I call him Mike Tyson, he is a heavyweight.  Although you can't see it in the photo, his left ear was clipped, indicating he is already fixed.  I did not know about the clipping code, so he made a quick round trip to the clinic and Mike was released the same day. A beginner's mistake!

Cat #2

Another beginner's mistake is using a trap that is too small. That is not something I did, but I saw at least two people bring cats to the clinic in rodent traps.  The traps are so small that the cat cannot turn around, or even move away from their own feces. Don't do this!

Cat #3 was a Tabby, and also had a clipped ear, so I released him as well.

Cat #3

Here is Cat #4. This QT was just six months old, only 6.5 lbs, and already pregnant.  She is now fixed and can fend for herself. Thankfully, recent abortion rulings don't apply to felines, but we need to keep this on the q.t or some legislator might get ideas.

Cat #4

I caught Cat #4 on a Friday, and the clinic does not allow feral cats to spend the weekend so I kept her in the cage indoors overnight. She has a nice rest overnight in my warehouse, probably dreaming of a mouse burger with a side of bird.

Resting up after getting spayed


Here is Cat #5, after she was fixed and awaiting release. She was not expecting.

Cat #5

I went through a string of black cats, now I am doomed to have bad luck for a while.  They might be Russian Blues, buy I am no expert. One characteristic of a Russia blue is that it starts off with yellow eyes, and after a year or so they fade to green.  Here is Cat #6, a mature tom cat with green eyes.  He was already fixed but did not have his ear clipped.  Now he does.

Cat #6

By this time, I bought my own car trap, as I did not want to borrow one indefinitely.  They cost less than $70 on Amazon.  Cat t#7 weighed over 16 lbs. (personal cat wrangler record) and came with all of his body parts. Carrying a cat cage with this chonk in it makes me wish it had wheels.  His days of child support are now behind him. One thing about neutering a male cat... of you do it when he is an adolescent, his bone structure will develop differently, and his face might become more feminine.  This cat has 100% male face, there is no mistaking him for a her.


Cat #7

Here is Cat #8: just 5.5 lb.female and nine months old, which means she has not been eating well. She was very active, doing full body slams into the ends of the cage. Note that her ears are unclipped....

Cat #8 before

Returning from the clinic the following day, when I went to let her out of the cage, she was the only one that did not take off like a rocket. Here she is, trying to hide. Spaying a female is way more painful than neutering a male. Eventually she daintily hurried off.

Cat #8 after

You may wonder, as do I, who is feeding these cats?  I surely don't.  The trapping site is approximately 100 yards from a homeless encampment in one of Tucson's "fentanyl parks". It is possible the get a little nourishment from the garbage that piles up, but it is hard to imagine a cat eating out of a crushed bag of Doritos.  Maybe the trash pile attracts rodents and birds, which are served up to a higher level on the food chain. Hopefully there will be a lot fewer unwanted kittens this year.

Oops, what's that? The Ring camera just went off.  Cat #9 needs some attention!

Check out the Unknown Editor's amazing archives when you are looking for a way to screw off for a couple of hours or more!

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