PAYING IT FORWARD
One Good Cat Deed Deserves Another
By Gary Michael Smith
I write for Crazy for Kitties not so much for the exposure but to get a message out -- whether it's about
helping abandoned cats survive in Post-Katrina New Orleans, or telling
Crazy Cat Stories about Boris,
Chatgris, and Emory. But most recently I was paid back by a reader from my own city. The email came a
couple days ago from an activist, Lise, with a grass roots organization called
ARNO, for Animal Rescue
Elton Enjoys a Nap Outside
This individual thanked me for writing my story on how two people are pitching in to do what we can
to care for just some of the many stray and abandoned animals in a city where only about half of the half
million residents have returned. Then she offered her assistance with any spaying or neutering that I
might need with my feline menagerie. While I didn't plan on going beyond the food and water stage, I did
relate that Elton might need some medical attention.
And He Likes His Food
But Don't Disturb Him!
A few weeks ago, Elton, who you'll remember from my
Stray Pets story, showed up bloody and
weary for his morning breakfast. Being feral, he still won't let us near him so we kept an eye on him to
see if he weakened enough to be captured. He had bled out on the sidewalk so much that it resembled a
crime scene. This worried us and we were just looking for our chance to grab him and put him in a
Elton Keeps an Eye out for Trouble
Instead, his fortitude kicked in; he cleaned himself up, ate and drank often, and within a week or so
got his strength back. I still try to touch him when I put down his food and water, but this usually results
in dramatic hissing or worse, running away. Wanting him to feel comfortable enough to dine in our
backyard whenever and however he wants, I've stopped antagonizing him. While he will pace around and
even follow me to and fro in the backyard until I put down his food, he simply does not want to be
touched. But, I had an idea, with which Lise helped me.
Elton Likes the Patio
Although I declined the breeding control method she offered, I asked if she had any traps. "Sure, I've
got plenty! Let me know where to drop one off!" was her generous response. Later that same day she
followed my suggestion and dropped it over my backyard fence. Now, I'll hopefully be able to lure Elton
into the trap with some chicken nuggets to get him checked out by my vet.
Even though I don't ever anticipate making him an indoor cat (remember the story of
Fuffy), we can
still see to his overall health and well-being. I look at it as my responsibility as an animal lover. And the
point to this story is to encourage everyone to write his or her stories and send them in. You never know
who's reading it and how your article may help them -- or how they may be able to pay it forward to help
you and others!
You can get close -- but not too close!
Admire Me from Afar
More pictures of Elton...
Elton Sits Just So
Relaxing in the garden
So comfortable, my tongue is out!
Gary Michael Smith is the curator of the "Cat Haven of Dante Street" in New Orleans. He can be
reached at his website, www.ChatgrisPress.com,
which is Cajun French for "Gray Cat."