All the alley between Cleveland and Maryland—cross-streets Tyler and Van Buren—needs is a big-screen TV and popcorn-maker. Perhaps a lamp would add appropriate ambience. Hehe, I am surprised the sofa, which I shared with you […]
The next three felines featured in this series were all seen yesterday, on Alabama Street between Adams and Madison. We start with one of the scrawniest-looking kitties that I have ever seen. But the beastie is loved, and cared for, despite giving first-impression of being a feral in poor health.
Meet Itchy Valentino, who, as you can see, is quite thin—and the meaning is for some of the patches of scant or missing fur, too. He has a collar, with tag that reads: “I have allergies and take meds & special food. I’m OK!” Yes, but someone isn’t keeping to his strict diet, because Itchy meowed like a distressed female in heat before coughing up something. Twice. I thought maybe a furball, but on examination more likely grass or plant matter ingested as roughage.
Huh? Another? Today’s putty-tat—photographed at 9:26 this morning (PDT)—is the eighth tuxedo to appear since the series started in October 2016. The friendly feline sprinted onto the sidewalk from a yard along Monroe Ave. near Louisiana. Somebody wanted pats and got plenty of them, making one-handed portrait-taking rather awkward. The Featured Image is first capture, from an accidental burst grouping. Reflected in the eyes, you can see me looking down, holding iPhone 7 Plus. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 20, 1/331 sec, 3.99mm.
The furball had no collar, or other identification, so I give nickname taken from T.S. Eliot poem “The Song of Jellicles“, which is an ode to the tuxedo from his tome Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
One month ago, Aug. 1, 2017, for the second consecutive evening, I saw my favorite neighborhood feline, Fess, lounging long after his owners came home for the day. The feisty, friendly furball sprawled far onto the sidewalk as it sloped into the street. I looked at my watch, 7:25 p.m. PDT, and walked down Cleveland Ave. to the corner of Meade—then turned back. I worried that in the dusk, a vehicular driver might not see the animal when turning into or backing out of the driveway. He looked relaxed and content. I walked on.
Four mornings later, as my mother lay dying in a Vermont medical center, I left our apartment for a long, soul-searching walk. Losing mom was unthinkable, but, based on communication with my sister Nanette, inevitable. Approaching the corner where I had looked back at Fess, his image waved from a poster placed on a utility pole by his human family. No one had seen the cat since the night of August 1st. He had vanished! My muscles tensed. We couldn’t lose Fess, too.
One apartment complex courtyard and three cats—two of them seen here. But the beast in the foreground is not today’s featured feline. I just like the composition and opportunity to differently present our Caturday specimen. With confidence, I can state that the tiger kitty is none other than Chub (a nom de plume), whom we met on New Year’s Day. But his buddy in the back is new to me; and to this series. The third beastie, whom I dub Blue Too, presented minutes later, and her photo will appear in a followup to “Meow! Second Sightings“.
My nickname for the tan short-hair is “Roamer” because a GPS collar appears to hang around his neck. If the owner put one, there must be a reason—like a wandering pet. I trespassed to get his portrait—and others. The furballs live on Campus Ave., beyond Madison towards the canyon that overlooks Mission Valley. I spotted them from the sidewalk, then approached slowly, shooting a series of portraits before capturing each one. Hey, did Chub lose some weight?
Since starting in October 2016, this series has featured more than 85 different felines—the majority of them domestic pets. Solid colors like black or grey and tiger-stripe combinations are unsurprisingly widely represented. But I would […]
Among the distribution of neighborhood kitties, two color combinations surprise me: White with orange/tan blotches and tuxedo. Hence the nickname for today’s furball. Drop by for the other, tomorrow.
I spotted this fine specimen while walking up the Maryland Ave. alley from Van Buren to Meade. At first, I thought that Pepe, who lives nearby where VB meets Cleveland, had gone on an adventure. But after close inspection, on MacBook Pro at home, this fine feline is a different animal. And the other tuxedos: Fraidy, Patience, Poser, Sammy, and Spot.
Yesterday afternoon, I walked 1.6 km (1 mile) from the Greyhound depot to the McDonald’s nearby San Diego High School, where my daughter graduated five years ago; my legs needed movement after being too long motionless during the three-hour ride from Long Beach. I had made an overnight-trip to see my niece Lynnae, who was on the West Coast for business.
Soon after the bus exited Interstate 5, I saw the extent of the city’s homeless crisis for the first time. Tents lined several blocks (at least) along what may have been National Avenue. According to the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless, the number of homeless people living unsheltered has increased 41 percent since 2014. There are 937 (recorded) tents, up 58 percent year over year. Data is current as of July.
My second-favorite neighborhood feline, The Colonel, is gone. Numero Uno, Fess, is missing—16 days, and as each passes his return grows more unlikely. In June, The Colonel’s owner told me that the majestic longhair had succumbed to “the cancer”. A few months earlier, while on a walk, my wife and I chatted with the woman (and her husband). The kitty had lost weight and, honestly, looked terribly scrawny to me.
The family has a new pet, Charlie, whom I first met on June 19, 2017. My struggle since: Getting good-enough portraits, despite several opportunities. Morning of Aug. 15, 2017, while walking down Monroe Ave., I saw a woman petting the cat on North—diagonally across the street from his home. The beastie, who is still a kitten, but closing on a year-old, is a roamer. As the lady turned away, he skirted from the sidewalk into a yard, where chomping grass consumed him for a good 10 minutes.
The drama of the three feral kittens opened a new—and perhaps final—neighborhood chapter last evening. I don’t yet know how the story ends. Around 7:20 p.m. PDT, with the protection of the waning light, I went out for a walk. Hours earlier, I had been at the ophthalmologist’s office, where one eye was dilated, leaving my vision temporarily impaired and sensitive to the San Diego sun.
My walk ended abruptly. A small group of teens, from two families, were gathered around the house where I had seen the feral trio the previous evening. Armed with cans of tuna, tenacity, and patience, they determined to trap the beasties—and one other: their momma. I started this series in October 2016, to date featuring more than 80 felines, and until last night I had not seen her. That’s surprising, since she raised her brood about a block from our apartment.
What a coincidence! On the same block where yesterday I saw house stagers, three kittens, presumably feral, are loose; I encountered them about 10 hours later. They’re skittish, but scooted back rather than ran away. I might have made life-long friends had kibble been handy to give them.
This series typically features neighborhood cats that, well, I expect to be long-term fixtures. The majority are obviously pets that are let outdoors. While the feral trio spent most of our visit hanging around a front porch, they clung more to the space as birthplace—perhaps below or in the bushes—rather than permanent home where they are owned. I expect that they will soon be captured and taken to the shelter; wouldn’t local adoption be so much better?
For about five years, delight of the neighborhood—down Maryland Ave. about halfway between border streets Madison and Lincoln—is a mini-wildlife refuge that I affectionately call the Butterfly House. The name derives from the Monarchs and other flying things that frequent flowers and foliage there. This series has featured felines—nicknamed Flower and Skull—on either side of the property, but not until today did I see, for the first time (finally), and photograph a kitty there. Of course, my wife and I would be walking to The Hub for groceries without a camera other than iPhone 7 Plus.
The Featured Image pulls back from the furball to provide some sense of the lush greenery and their variety. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 20, 1/523 sec, 3.99mm; 9:36 a.m. PDT. San Diego’s typical early day marine cloud layer made for perfect shooting conditions.