Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1980883-The-Street-of-Lost-Cats
by BGood
Rated: E · Short Story · Animal · #1980883
An allegory regarding the struggles of inner-city life.
Many things were strange about the street of lost cats. Along the cracked sidewalks, the littered gutters, the chained concrete fences roamed scores of cats with matted down fur coats equipped with an uncanny ability to stare into the eyes of passing residents.

Those whom lived behind the rusting iron-clad windows and crumbling facades of the shotgun-style homes barely noticed the cats. They were not blind to them, no. Not like those who get accustomed to the oddities and marvels of their own neighborhoods so much so they forget their existence. No one who lived on that street forgot the cats, as much as they would prefer to have that luxury. Those who lived on the neglected and empty street simply refused to look at anything but their own feet as they whisked their downtrodden bodies from one destination to another.

The lost cats slept underneath a near condemned building on the corner. From the looks of the crumbling exterior, the building surely offered more than just shelter, but some fresh vermin that infested nearly every other building on the block.

Each morning before sunrise, about the same time as the construction workers and the cab drivers and the rest of the blue-collar workers started their commute to buses and trains, the cats would peek out from below the building and gradually fill the street. Dozens of the felines would begin pillaging garbage cans, others would find their way to areas where the sunshine beamed brightest.

Afternoons on the street was a time of near inactivity. The warmth from the early hours of daylight quickly turned into an exhausting heat which forced the cats to seek shade underneath bodega canopies and the threshold of basement apartments.

The most exciting part of life for the cats was in the early evening as the buses and the trains shuttled in the residents back to their homes, which to them was both mesmerizing and terrifying. The cats, while they rather enjoyed seeing the specter of the evening procession, it forced them to scurry from building to building once their daytime hiding place would be exposed. Not that the person who found them out ever noticed it themselves, for that has already been elaborated. If however in the rare chance that a human would see one of the lost cats, they would lash out as if a band of thieves had approached and attacked.

It was for this reason that the cats on that dreary street could never trust those humans who paraded around them. Safety was never a guarantee. Not even among themselves. The barbarism of the cats innate animal instincts was constantly present, and an alertness that edged on paranoia was to them a trait necessary for survival. While their native habitat was the total construction of that civilized species, it created no comfort to them, in fact they were probably more aggressive and vicious because of it. The concrete walls and the desecration of grassland and the dense populations contributed to their behavior in a way that is inversely proportional to that said to occur within humans.

The only moments of fleeting happiness that blessed these abandoned, street-dwelling souls was the births of their litters, even if it put dire strain on their current condition. The cats only provided for their kittens until they could ably catch a mouse and hide when warranted. Thus the cycle of the lost cats.

Obviously these conclusions weren't to be addressed within the feline mind, but they were nevertheless important to their development and their attitudes. One is bound to believe that the quality of life experienced by these lost cats could have been profoundly different should their birth had been somewhere besides in the crumbling corner building; their food taste of something other than the wild flesh of street vermin; their behaviors consist of something other than the never-ending need to survive; their companionship be more than their own claws and bones.

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