Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Walk & The Cats

So this weekend was one of those, "I really need to get more active" type weekends. Not to say that I was out hiking or swimming all weekend long. No. Instead that means that when Sunday evening rolled around and I still hadn't produced a drop of sweat, I decided it was time to go.

I live near the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. It is not the most convenient place to live next to during volleyball or basketball games, nor during the morning or afternoon rush hours. However, it does provide a nice route to run when the mood strikes me.

Last night, I laced up my shoes and started off on a walk around the campus. The college is by no means level or flat, so it is wise to start off walking if it has been a long time since the last time. Once I get warmed up though, I can't help but want to run.

I am certainly no obsessive runner. I can go long stretches without running at all. But I would be lying if I said that I don't miss it when I can't go for a run now and then..

Jogging around the campus can be fun because the various events that take place and the shear variety of people who seem to be around until late in the evening. One evening a few months ago, the street was especially crowded so I took a detour through the college. When I got halfway across the grounds, I caught a familiar. smoky smell and put it together that there was a reggae concert at the amphitheater.

As I was jogging around yesterday, it was a different scent that caught my attention. Cat food.

Unfortunately, the University of Hawaii suffers from a feral cat problem as do many public places across the state. The question I always had was, "How do all these cats survive? Are they scavenging the garbage cans? Are they cannibals?"

Turns out, a few misguided humans are to blame. As I approached the Old Quad, I saw dozens of cats chowing down from paper cups placed around the steps, sidewalk and lawn. The containers held both dry food and wet food since cats can be known to be finicky eaters, I am supposing.

Between the building was the culprit. An older man was collecting the receptacles and putting them into a plastic bag. His little furry friends had eaten their fill and his mission to spread fleas, feline AIDS and other diseases had been met for the evening.

I must admit that I kind of stared in disbelief at what I was seeing. I had heard in the news that feral cats were a problem and that the University and the state was formulating plans to combat the spread of the feral cat population since they had been deemed a health hazard. And yet, here was this guy. Feeding them.

I wondered if maybe he didn't understand that what he was doing was a problem. That he was actually contributing to the issue rather than helping it. Maybe when he heard that there was a feral cat problem, he assumed that the problem was that they were hungry. Or homeless.

The bottom line was that this guy was purposely creating a bigger problem even while officials were working to solve it.

The unfortunate lesson in this is that most maladies that face us are not being perpetrated by some nameless, faceless shadow organization. There is no conspiracy set upon us by some nefarious mastermind. No. Instead, they are being foisted upon us by our own clueless neighbors.

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