Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Night Life

In Israel, cats are everywhere! In the park, crossing the streets, sunning in the grass, rummaging on top of and in the garbage. Most of them are simply alley cats without a litter box to call home. When students gather on the grass of the promenade at the Hebrew University at least five or six cats will mosey on over to beg for morsels of food. The HU cats are pretty healthy looking.
Other cats, well, not so healthy. Sickly really. Some of the cats fur is matted and course looking and some of their fur is pretty sparse, especially on their backs. Other cats have this incredible eye goo oozing from their eyes. Perhaps one eye is pasted shut or the other has what looks like a film covering the eye itself. If you're a cat lover you'll want to take all of these cats home with you in your baggage.

The cats that I like the best are the two cats who live above me. There is a small balcony and during the daytime they are out sunning and watching the neighborhood. I always wonder if they see anything exciting other than people zipping by in cars or taxis, busloads of tourists, some VIP heading off to Tel Aviv, the workmen next door.

Sometimes the cats hang their paws off the balcony as if they are trying really hard to be free. How could they not be envious of the cats below, the freedom fighters of the neighborhood. They can roam where they want, EAT what they want. People often leave plates of food on the stone walls to feed the strays. The advantage that the neighbor cats have over the strays is that they can see eye to eye with the birds of Rehavia. Now that's a trade off.

I've come to know these cats, not because I have ever seen or talked to their owners but because of their habits. Early in the morning or during the night I can hear them scamper across the floor above me. They must sleep in the room above my bedroom. I can hear their padded little feet run to one side of the room. A few seconds will pass and then they will run back to home base in their game of tag. They make me laugh.

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