Warning: Kids and Cats at Play

This sign, spotted for the first time today, adorns the yard where lives Pepe, whom I featured in the Cats of University Heights series on March 9, 2017. His owners have two preschool children and another feline, and I wonder what prompted the warning because of yesterday’s sad sighting: A dead cat on the side of the road, a block-and-a-half further down Cleveland Ave. towards Washington Street.

My wife and I came upon the short-hair, tiger-tabby while walking to the bank to close out her dad’s account. Annie gasped, seeing the poor creature first. My immediate concern: That he was the three-legged feline that lives two houses away. He appeared in the Cats series on Nov. 13, 2016. Luckily not. Having photographed more than 50 furballs around the neighborhood, I was grieved to stand over the kitty, which someone had mercifully moved to the curb. 

I got out iPhone 7 Plus, used Siri to retrieve the number for animal control, and called to report the hit and (presumably) run. I was told that removal would come within 24 hours. With trash pickup coming today, I hoped sooner; easily some well-meaning neighbor might dispose of the carcass, but if the cat was chipped the owners could get closure on the disappearance if animal control took possession.

Unquestionably, cars drive too fast along Cleveland, despite the stop sign at Meade, which is a frighteningly busy intersection. There’s an elementary school on the next street; kids are about; bikers are frequent; and dog walkers are everywhere. Then there are cats and squirrels ambling across the roadway. These are all good reasons to keep the speed limit— to slow down, as I often do, particularly at dusk. Night before last, as I drove home, a different cat sprinted across Cleveland on the same block where that poor tiger-tabby died. Had I been speeding…

Yesterday, three more times, I walked down to where the cat lay, to see if it was still there. Yes, even after 5:30 p.m. PDT. I was partly motivated by examination. Had I featured the animal in the series? I had to know, but don’t believe so. On that last saunter, circling back along Campus Ave., I got some comfort seeing familiar furballs Fess, resting in the shade; Pepe, sitting on his owners’ steps; and Chipper, curled up on a cat bed placed on a bench.

I used Fujifilm X100F to shoot the two photos. The Featured Image is a 70-percent crop meant to emphasize the sign. Vitals: f/4, ISO 200, 1/1600 sec, 23mm; 4:34 p.m. PDT. The other, which is straightened, gives more expansive view from the corner down the street. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/800 sec, 23mm; 4:32 p.m. PDT. Aperture was manually set for both shots.