The Feral Cats of My Block

I live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. My block has a huge population of feral cats. This winter, they have suckered me into feeding them. This is Big Orange Tom.


I’ve lived here for a few years but have resisted feeding the feral cats for many reasons —- I have birds as pets and don’t want the local ferals to get too interested in the inside of my house is one main one. But I was cleaning out the fridge and found two big meaty ribs that were a little past their prime for humans. I decided to toss them out the back window and see if any of the local ferals came and found it. Big Orange Tom showed up right away and scarfed the ribs.

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A few days later, I made a whole roasted fish. It had snowed since then. I put the fish head in aluminum foil and the skin and congealed fish juices in an empty butter dish and tossed that out the window as well.

This attracted Big Orange Tom and he brought a lady. This is Calico Lady.


Big Orange Tom was very polite about sharing the fish.

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And even kept a lookout while she ate.


So I assumed Big Orange Tom and Calico Lady were a solid couple, right? After Big Orange Tom let Calico Lady eat all the fish, they went off together and a few minutes later he came back and was sniffing all around in the hopes of finding something tasty. I was still at the window and he looked up at me most hungrily. So I made him eggs. He sniffed the eggs and walked off in a huff. Expecting more fish I guess. Calico Lady found the eggs before I got outside to throw them away and liked them fine.

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A few days go by. In the back of my freezer I uncover a box of those scary heat and eat breakfast sausages someone gave me two years ago. I heat those up and throw them out the window. They disappear, but slowly. and most of the cats that stroll through the yard sniff them and continue on their way. There’s something deeply wrong with those things I suspect. In the meantime, this little beggar scammed a handful of cashews out of me.


I hadn’t seen Big Orange Tom or Calico Lady for a day or two when two steak bones went out the window. They sat there for longer than I would have expected, and I figured Calico Lady and Big Orange Tom were hanging out elsewhere. After a while, White Kitty came by, grabbed a bone…


And scrammed right quick.


I wondered what had made White Kitty take off with such speed. There’s an old car in my neighbor’s yard. I suspect Calico Lady lives under the car. I looked towards the car and saw Calico Lady and a new fella glaring at White Kitty from under the car. They have White Kitty a bit of ahead start but after a minute, he was followed quickly by Calico Lady and this fellow in hot pursuit.


I didn’t hear any hisses or screams, so I think White Kitty got away. I also assumed that Calico Lady had taken up with a new fella. But today, it seemed that Calico Lady’s chickens came home to roost. First, some birds had a Stale Gingersnap Party. Ain’t no party like a stale gingersnap party ‘cuz a stale gingersnap party don’t stop.

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Yeah, that’s right, a gingersnap party don’t stop. Unless a squirrel shows up. Why are little birdies deathly afraid of a squirrel? I’ve never seen a squirrel attack a little birdie. This guy doesn’t look very scary.


He totally kills the vibe, anyways. Everyone cleared out. But a few minutes later, I see that Big Orange Tom and This Fella are looking very concerned in the direction of under the car, and as it turns out. Calico Lady. It kinda seems like the two boys were hanging out, doing boy things like peeing on stuff, until Big Orange Tom was all like, “OK, dude, this was fun but I’m gonna go see my lady now.” and This Fella was all like, “Cool, man, I’m gonna go see MY lady now too. Oh, you’re going that way? I’ll walk with you. Hey, man, my lady lives under this car right up here. Where does yours live? Under this car too? Oh man what a coincidence, I didn’t know my girl had a roomie. Hey, maybe we can double date some time! Hey, man, wait, there’s only ONE lady here…”


Big Orange Tom sized up the situation several minutes ago, and is explaining to Calico Lady that she’s going to have to make a decision. ‘it’s him or me,” he says. “Decide now. We’ll wait.”


And they wait. Finally, Calico Lady has had enough. She has places to be. “I’m not choosing,” she says. “I want Vermont with Fitz and I want to stand in the sun with you, Jake. So I’m not choosing. I’m choosing me. I’m choosing Olivia. And right now, Olivia is dancing. Now, you can dance with me or you can get off my dance floor. I’m fine dancing alone.”


And leave she does.

“She left!” said This Fellow. “Now we’re both alone. This was all your fault, Big Orange Tom!’


Big Orange Tom swipes at This Fellow but doesn’t want to waste any time so instead of kicking his butt he heads off to rescue Olivia, I mean find Calico Lady.