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August 5th, 2007


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07:12 pm - concave cat is concave. convex cat is convex.
There's an orange cat hangin round Hall Ave. It's a lovely longhaired orange and buff tabby, very sweet, very friendly to me. I approached it while it had its back turned to me and when I stopped far enough ahead to make an "I'm coming by" sound, it turned around and rolled over and said hello. It was sweet and friendly and happy to get the scritches, and it ran around my shoes and said "mine!" and claimed my ankles, and had a very wise look to it. I estimated its age to be probably around 2 or 3.

I'd walk a way down the sidewalk and turn back around and it'd be sitting nicely watching me. I'd bend down just slightly, maintaining eye contact, and the cat took it as "it's okay, you can follow me", which it did.

It was also incredibly scrawny. I mean, its back end, from the middle to the base of its tail, was concave. Its upcurving spine was visible, completely visible, and the skin ran underneath it. Almost the opposite of Abbie, who's nearly as wide as a regular cat is as long. It had no collar, but I couldn't see any visible bites or bug infestations or battle scars on it. I checked the hindquarters and judging from the reddish tinge Down Below, I think it's the kind of cat who goes into heat every so often.

I don't remember much about mama cats, seeing as how our housecats were mostly always spayed and neutered, so I can't tell if a concave belly section is indicative of a recent birth -- but I'd have thought a mama cat would be kinda big so she could feed her kittens, and also not be lolling about on the sidewalk in the middle of the day, following me around when I indicated it was okay.

We stopped at one part because someone had gotten into a car a bit up the street and was getting ready to drive off. The cat hesitated when it heard the door slam so we stopped. It has smarts, that one. As I was petting it, a neighbor came out to put her trash on the curb.

"Have you seen this cat around?" I asked. "Does it have a home?"

"Yeah, I think so," she replied. "Every year they shave it, so it must." And it was true; the legs looked like they'd been shaved a month or so ago and a longhair cat who hangs outside in the July and August heat is probably quite happy for that.

"It's so scrawny," I said. The neighbor said something about knowing The Meanest Cat On The Block and I couldn't believe it.

"How can this one be so mean?" I asked. "It certainly looks friendly to me."

"No, no," the neighbor said, pointing to a black cat heading down her porch steps. "That's the Meanest Cat On The Block."

That was where I bid orange tawny goodbye, for I did not want to lead it into the path of the Meanest Cat On The Block, even though I'm sure theirs will cross today at some point.

But I'm still worried about its skin-and-boniness. Surely whoever it owns is feeding it. And it certainly was friendly towards people, not half-feral and constantly suspicious like a few of the other neighborhood strays I've seen (hence the careful approach to give it enough time to run if it felt so inclined.) But no collar and no belly made me worried.

Since I don't know if it had a home, I didn't take the cat in and give it some food. Or even take it to the vet and have it checked out; if it has a home, it'd be missed. Besides, the last thing I need is another longhaired cat. I barely keep up with His Nibs' furballs as it is.

(comments suggest the poor dear might have Feline Leukemia or a tapeworm, which make sense. the cat certainly wasn't in any pain. in a right good mood, really.)

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:stopword
Date:August 6th, 2007 12:51 am (UTC)
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I had a kitty who looked like that when he got the Feline Leukemia. He felt like that cat you describe, all bony but also really affectionate and outgoing. He felt fine until one day he didn't.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:August 6th, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
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So it may be FeLu? That's really sad. It's such a sweetheart of a cat.
[User Picture]
From:muffyjo
Date:August 6th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
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I have a friend who has two cats. The cats are siblings from the same litter. They are both about 6 to 8 years old now. From about 1 year old, one has been concave and the other convex. She looks like she's starved, like she's never been fed a day in her life. And I can promise you that it simply isn't true. She eats perfectly well (and plenty) and is in perfect health. She is just shaped that way. Her sister is more portly by far and being rather stout, one assumes she steals all the food. This is most decidedly not the case. Simply different metabolisms.

[User Picture]
From:lakilika
Date:August 6th, 2007 05:06 am (UTC)
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It might have a tapeworm. Or FIV/FeLV.

I love long-haired orange kitties. Poor guy. :(
[User Picture]
From:semer
Date:August 6th, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)
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Yeah, unfortunately it does sound like all of those first things to me, having seen a lot of eaten-away-at shelter cats. :-/

Stupid people who let their cats outside without collars... I really wish everyone had collars for cats so you could FIGURE OUT who people are if/when they're clearly neglecting their animals. Not that it's necessarily the case this time, but sitll.
[User Picture]
From:lakilika
Date:August 6th, 2007 03:05 pm (UTC)
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Well, there's always a possibility that it's microchipped.
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From:joyeous
Date:August 6th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
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I think I know the cat you're talking about. Let me get _mattt to post a picture of it to see if it's the same one. If it is, we tried to catch this same cat and take him in to a shelter because we thought he was sick and a stray. We started feeding him daily and planned how we were going to catch him to bring him in to the shelter. We mentioned this to our backyard neighbors, and turns out he was their cat! We lived at 37 Francesca, so I'm guessing this cat was whatever the number of the house that's directly behind it is, 30 or 40-something Hall (they spoke French and have a toddler). We told them that we thought their cat was too skinny and they claimed that it was because he was "an outdoor cat and got a lot of exercise." They also said they only shaved him to keep him cool in the summer. We kept feeding him anyway. He tried to get into our house several times, sometimes successfully. So if it is the same cat, I think he really is okay. He's been like this for several years now. But I want to get Matt to post the pic, just to verify.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:August 6th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
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I believe I know exactly which couple you mean; I've seen them walking down our street with their kids and have heard snippets of French. And it sounds like the cat may very well be theirs, too. What clinches it for me is the whole shaving-in-summer thing. If the cat's been around for several years, muffyjo may be right; the cat may just be built that way. I'd love to see the pictures, though and confirm.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who thought the feller was a stray!
[User Picture]
From:luckimunki
Date:August 6th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
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It could have been a number of things. I suggest that if you see him again, and you can't find his owner, take him to the vet just to be sure. If he's got FeLeuk, he could be spreading it around to the other cats on the block. If he's being neglected, he needs a new home!

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