Monday, February 18, 2013

Cats and spirits

This evening we went to the bar over the road from the office, and I drank an awful lot of strong liquor. Most of it was gin, in different and ever-more-complex combinations, diluted only by beer and deep-fried balls of cheese. This is Monday, and it's ending one second at a time.

We left the bar about nine, and toddled back to Chinatown. Stopping before our HDB block, we met with Catapuss, the black and white cat who occupies an alleyway behind some restaurants. She purred and rolled over for us, while the kitchen staff crouched in the darkness and grinned at us. Catapuss' fur is thinning on top and yellowed with filth beneath, but she has a plump belly. Eventually we left her.

Directly outside our block are vast numbers of semi-feral cats, all pale and nervous, litters from some prolific, unsterilised male. The skinniest, most timid of these is gaunt little Catapino, who we fed a sachet of wet food to and stroked until he was full, worried that a larger, grumpier feline might contest his dinner. Then we got up and walked away, leaving Catapino to find a place to hide.

It is strange that dogs are permitted in public housing, but not cats. It feels stranger when the reason for this is that cats are noisy and smelly. It's as if the legislators had never encountered either dogs or cats. Or perhaps they grew up in some unique household, where the cat barked whenever the postman came to the door.

There was a petition a few years ago, to request that cats be legalised within HDB buildings, but it came to nothing. So the strays remain on the streets, and people keep feeding them, and any attempt to keep things tidy rather goes by the wayside.

This would fill me with gloom, but when we got home I made my wife watch an episode of Rentaghost, which starred Dobbin, an unfeasibly happy looking pantomime horse, and one of those theme tunes you didn't realise had infested your brain all this time. At least I'll sleep happy.


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