Sunday, April 05, 2009

When Hungry Animals Show


KHUK KHAK, Thailand - There is this black bob-tail cat that showed up a couple of weeks ago, hungrier than hell, and kept following me around, everywhere, in the yard, in the house, everywhere, until I fed it. Then it left me alone for awhile. Almost stepped on it six, seventeen times.

I suppose I could put it out, but I enjoy the breeze through the open door, and putting the cat out seemed unnecessarily cruel. It's pregnant, Damon says.

The other neighbor, my Turkish neighbor, thinks the Thai cut the cat's tail, but I think it's genetic. You see that kind verywhere. It likes to curl up on the chair, where it is now. I don't pay it much mind, except once when it jumped up on the counter, and I yelled at it, "GET DOWN FROM THERE! HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND???"

Then the dogs saw the cat in the house, and they thought maybe they could come in too, like, 'The door's open.' I said something along the same vein to the dogs. None of these animals are mine, mind you. Them or the chickens.

There is a rooster and a hen, and then seven hens, that like to come scratch around in my compost pile and eat the rice I put out for the songbirds that come every day. I think they lay their eggs and roost over at the neighbor's house, between here and the wat, the temple, Komaneeyakhet, or 'Khuk Khak temple', as they say, shaving off one syllable.

The main bitch dog, just a pup herself, but growing into a really good watch dog with a change of voice, commanding the corner, is 'Chuga' (Sugar, in English), or 'Trinkle' ('like, the cereal,' Damon says), both of which she does not respond to, especially when going after the dozens of Myanmar who pass by here every day on foot, bicycle, and motorbike on their way to work at the big hotel on the beach. She even chases after them in their trucks, and two dozen in the back of a big truck. The Thai, she leaves alone.

"She must've been beaten by the Myanmar," said Damon, the British tattooed biker who lives at the other end of this row of shop-houses, none of which contain a shop, incidentally, and subsequently, the owner has morphed them into residential units over the past four years. Chuga guards the whole place.

She guards the whole place, and is teaching the little black pup, 'Batfink', what it means to be a guard dog.

"Because his ears look like a bat," said Damon. And they do.

At first, Chuga didn't want to share the food, even though there was two servings, one big, one little, and you can kind of see how she might think it was all hers, but we told her, 'Look, its gotta eat. You're the one who brought her here. You're the one who wanted a playmate."

They play, but Chuga punishes that little black bitch DAILY. You can hear her yelping and crying around, day or night. That's why when you toss down their food, like, chicken, you've got to toss Chuga's over way over there, and then toss the black dog's food at her feet, which she'll at first run from, then grab it and high-tail it around the wall behind the complex that holds back the jungle.

Anyway, they're hanging around down at this end, because Damon is sporadically around and unreliable on the food dish, although he is the one who originally began feeding Chuga when she showed up from the Myanmar camp, ribs showing, determined to find a new home.

So, Chuga is the main bitch dog here on the corner, and everyone, the Thai, the vendors, the tourists, and especially the Myanmar who pass here, know it. There are people she likes, and doesn't bother, and there are people she doesn't like. She's got their number, and they have hers.

So, to keep those songbirds coming, I've got to put out rice, and to keep the cat happy so it won't kill the songbirds, I've got to feed it canned tuna, and a couple of chicken wings about once a week, and I've got to feed the dogs to keep them from killing the chickens who come to eat the rice.

None of these animals are mine, mind you. It's a Catch-22 situation, an either/or scenario, a damned if you do - damned if you don't predicament, see what I'm saying.

"I don't know who invited this cat in here," I said to Damon, nodding at the cat sprawled flat out in the back doorway.

"Cats lay around where they feel comfortable," he replied.

And I was thinking, then said it aloud at the cat, who apparently didn't get the message, not stirring, not flicking the tail, not batting an eyelash, "Don't get TOO comfortable around here."

For the benefit of Damon, I called it a nasty name, just to indicate it wasn't welcome, and to demonstrate my profane side, but Damon knows I'm not a biker, and knew I was only feigning dislike for the cat.


This story is soooo lame. I know it, but I'm going to let it fly for two reasons; one, it's exercise; two, it's for you animal lovers; and three, because it's better (to me) than writing about:

- the economy
- global warming
- mass murder/suicides
- what Nikolas Sarkozy's wife's wearing today
- who got bumped of American Idol