Dangerous Compassions

guide to courtyard cats

I thought you might like this guide to courtyard cats.  In case you come here and need to know who you’re dealing with, in the cat courtyard.

friendly black cat: Rainbow

Rainbow is my darling.  She used to be hugely fat, and then became regular size.  It was confusing, and I was afraid she was not long for this world.  But she seems fine.  It’s been a year I think, she’s been regular size.  Wtf.

Rainbow is affectionate and curious.  She has a spot of black on her pinkish nose and a tiny tuft of white in her fur, not noticeable at first.

She greets visitors sometimes, in a non-demanding way.  I love her way of being in the world.   She likes to be petted but is chill.

“How you doing, Rainbow?” I’ll ask, seeing her in the courtyard.  She’s the cat I talk to most, for sure.  I love her, though I didn’t want to.  I resisted that, for years.

huge orange cat with blue eyes: Frank Sinatra, formerly known as Catastrophe

Yesterday Ming told me Frank is his favorite, and I was like–what???  Frank is obnoxious, the king cat for sure, domming all the other cats and humans too.  I told Ming–it must be that the drama stirs something in him.  Frank is the cat Ming notices the most, for sure.  The squeaky wheel.

Frank is huge and doesn’t groom right.  He needs to be brushed but resists brushing.  He’s ornery and I don’t like living with him!

Yesterday we were eating a meal at the picnic table–he comes around to see what’s going on and what he can get.  We try to shoo him, and he’s persistent!

He has a mean look in his eye, and he rubs on my leg sometimes in a style that’s way more “I can do whatever I want to you” than affectionate.  Basically, I kind of hate Frank.

huge stripey cat with white:  Wally / Wiley

Wally / Wiley is a blandly ok cat, in my opinion.  He is usually in the same mood, which is a slightly skittish opportunistic lounging about cat mood.  But the person who’s groundskeeper here loves him a ton.  Not sure what’s so good about Wally/ Wiley.

long-haired brownish cat with blondish bits: Nonchalant 

Nonchalant has a weird look in their eyes all the time.  When they see me, they freeze and look scared / angry.  I’m like, “What?  What are you worried about?  I’ve done nothing to you.”  Maybe Nonchalant was born that way, or got harmed by a human.  They seem ok with the other cats.

Nonchalant wins the beauty contest around here, with long fur and grace and sleek detached excellence.  They are like a god.  But I don’t get much from them–just that wild fear for no good reason.

black & white cat: We Don’t Need Another Cat / Boots

Boots showed up in summer.  I was very disheartened.  “We don’t need another cat,” I said, and told them to leave.  But they keep coming around.

Mostly I see Boots lying on the ground on the south side of the courtyard, not doing much.  They look at me like, “What are you going to do?”

I’m like, “Hey, Boots.”  I guess I’m getting used to that cat.  Whatever.

courtyard cat

skittish white cat: White Cat / Project 56, No 1

White Cat is so skittish, like my mere perception of her would kill her.  She sees me see her and skedaddles.  A blur of white fur, wide eyes, and paw beans, with a panicked backwards look.

She flees to the safety of beneath a table.  Ooo, you’re beneath a table.  Yes, you are very safe now.


Writing this guide to courtyard cats, I conclude that the cats are a whole subset of community I have mixed feelings about.  The human-being-people I see in the courtyard are way more important to me than the cat-people.

So I notice them and feel for them, but mostly I leave their care to the true cat lovers.  I try to stay uninvolved.  There’s a little noise from time to time, but mostly they get along with one another.  And there are no kittens, so it seems ok here.

I didn’t choose these cats, and I don’t want pets.  If I had my way, we would not have cats at all.  But the people here who love them, need them.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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