Regardless of the Internet’s ability to exalt something of no real seeming importance to national prominence in a short period of time, there are a still a lot of things that don’t occur to us until somebody or some group takes action for or against them. I hadn’t thought much about going nude at the beach until there was a movement afoot to allow it in Venice. I had forgotten there even was a metric system until longshot Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chaffee suggested that the U.S. convert to metric as a way to help the economy.
Cats were also pretty much off my desktop and “To Do” list until last week, when I read that the Los Angeles City Council was taking steps to allow LA households to keep as many as five cats. Specifically, the Council directed city attorneys to draft an ordinance that they might later vote on.
It was reported that the current L.A. cat limit is three, so moving it up to five would be a boost for cats. But, until I shared this news with you, were you aware of any limits on cats? Besides occasionally walking past a house where a half dozen cats are lounging on a front porch, were cats even on your mind the last month or so? I mean, we’re dog people over at our house. Cats only come up when they cross the path of our dog, and even she doesn’t seem to care much about them.
Animal Services officials want to make sure Los Angeles households can take cats in as a means of lowering the number of shelter cats that are euthanized. However, if that draft of the new ordinance fails in the L.A. Council Chambers maybe cats themselves will be looking toward the open arms of Santa Monica since the same article points out that our city has no limits on cats kept indoors. None.
Are you surprised? Because I was, just a little. I mean, I know that people who keep cats can be wildly enthusiastic about them since there’s hours of fascinating footage of cats on Facebook. Apparently any time a cat moves or jumps or decides to stretch out on a sofa, that’s essentially a “film” that must be shot then posted so that people all over the world know that a cat has done something and other cats can be alerted.
But it never occurred to me that as a resident of Santa Monica I might decide to take in a few cats… then a few more… then a few more after that, and there wouldn’t be any problems. Oh, I’m not saying there aren’t some downsides to having 50 cats and a litter box the size of a Ford Fiesta inside your home. But at least, like gun owners free to keep building their personal arsenals, the government wouldn’t step in and stop me. No sir, I did not appreciate that available kitty freedom until I learned about it recently.
While our city has gotten tough on the public presentation of snakes and lizards near the Santa Monica Pier, we’ve gone out of way to make dogs welcome with some fine dog parks. And now, like a message carried on a quiet breeze blowing an ammonia-like smell from the cat park your neighbor may have established in their living room, we learn that in Santa Monica you can have as many cats as you please and the ‘Man’ won’t hassle you, dude.
I mentioned earlier being a dog person. I know cat people, and they’re fine folks. At the risk of being politically incorrect, it seems that women have a special affinity for cats that is often lacking in men. There’s the thinking that cats keep themselves clean, and the thinking by a lot of women that a lot of men are dogs. So I ‘get’ that women like cats, and that once you have one cat you might as well have several; five if LA goes with its new ordinance and as many as you damn well please if you live here in cat-aclysmic Santa Monica.
But, let’s keep our eye on things. Be aware that there’s a woman (see preceding paragraph) living in Fresno who, after her divorce (see preceding paragraph again, men – dogs) began rescuing cats and now has almost 800 of them living with her. Social media has caused word of her sanctuary to spread and she claims to have saved 19,000 cats. No numbers available on the inventory of catnip-stuffed felt mice and other cat toys deployed at her cat corral.
Full disclosure: As a child, my family had a cat that was a kitten from a farm and it never quite lost the more feral instincts that went with farm life. Such as urinating on just about everything. So in later life, I appreciated the finer points of dogs. Dogs will often send you a text or call you on the phone when they need to go outdoors. Their craniums are several times the size of a cat, so it’s pretty much no contest when it comes to doing tricks. Cats don’t really seem to do tricks so much as get irritated in charming ways by laser pens and even an automated device sold on TV meant to irritate cats into activity. I guess if you had 800 cats, you’d be looking for some kind of automatic baby sitter.