It’s Time to Meet the Furry Stars
If you love fuzzy little animals then you’re bound to enjoy this series. A few weeks ago I created a page that explained the ongoing categories I plan to write about over the next several months, and this is the beginning of one of them, which I’ve decided to call The Critters of Garben Road (for more info check out the Ongoing Topics page).
On the street where I live (which I’ve changed the name of for safety reasons, as well as privacy) there are feral and stray cats up the ying yang, not to mention opossums, raccoons, coyotes, rats, and other various wild animals. Both myself and my fiancé are very well acquainted with many of the animals that inhabit the area, which was a result of leash-training out own cat and walking him every night, and we’ve made some sweet little friends. The creatures roaming around here are always up to trouble, getting into places they’d best stay away from and generally being mischievous. It isn’t always fun and games, and sometimes our hearts get broken, but for the most part hanging out with the various residents of Garben Road is quite rewarding, and worth the occasional pain.
Hoping others might enjoy recounts of the lighter moments with out little friends, I’ve decided to record the good times (and maybe some of the bad ones). But before I get started with that I think it would be a good idea to explain who’s who so it’s easier to follow everything. I wish I had pictures of all of them, but my phone doesn’t work well in the dark. I plan to get a better camera soon, but until then I’ll be sure to describe them as best as I can.
The area I’ll be talking about is pretty large, so I’ve decided to break them up into different sectors just to simplify everything a little. Garben road is dissected by a major numbered street that runs north and south, so that will be the boundary I’ll use. There’s also another street to the north that I sometimes run into critters on, which I’ll call Garnet Street, but I probably won’t be writing about that area very often since the main personalities I used to see there have been gone for a while now. The two main areas will be called East Side and West Side.
East Side Critters
The East Side sector is where my house is located, and it’s also an area that I frequently walk around in since I tend to stroll around while I take smoke breaks. Here’s a list of the animals that live here:
- Octo (short for October): Octo is the only cat I can get a clear picture of because he happens to be my kitty. I gave him the nickname Lightning Paws because he’s amazingly fast, surpassing the speed of any other cat I’ve ever known (and I’ve known a lot of cats over the years). Turd comes from the fact that he’s a spoiled rotten brat, and The Eternal Kitten references the fact that we waited until he was almost 2 years old to get him neutered, causing him to retain the energy levels that a kitten would exhibit. Despite his temper and occasionally naughty behavior, he’s still my little baby, and I love him immensely.
- Sweetie (aka Ginger): Called Ginger by his true owner (a young girl who lives in the area), Sweetie is a gorgeous tabby with tawny, brown, and black patterns, and has at least a little Maine Coon blood in him. He was the first cat to start following us around, and for a long time I thought he was a stray. He’s mad several attempts to sneak into our apartment, including darting through the door when we open it and trying to claw through the screen on the window. He hangs out by our front door, waiting for us to come out, and absolutely loves attention. He tends to be fairly mild-mannered, but has moments when he challenges other cats. We typically see him on a daily basis, though he does disappear for long periods of time every now and then.
- Licorice: Though I’m not sure if he has the same owners, I’m positive that Licorice is related to Sweetie in some way (probably brother or son). Licorice looks a lot like Octo, even down to the orange eyes and white patch on his chest, but he has the long fur associated with Maine Coons, and is a good deal larger than my scrawny little brat. He’s a lot like Sweetie in that he loves attention and follows us any chance he gets, but he tends to be more aggressive, and tends to get jealous if we pet other cats in front of him. He’s smart enough to know that I won’t tolerate him chasing off the ‘competition’, so he’s started to chill out lately.
- Marble: Marble is the most recent addition to our growing family, and is sweet as could be. He’s not even a year old by my estimation and is also a tabby. His coloring ranges from black to a light brown, which creates intricate, swooping swirls on his sides and thick black lines that run down his back. He’s quite the talker, and is well-behaved and sociable with other cats. He’s on the small side, but has the potential to grow a lot now that we’re feeding him some decent food.
- Big Boy: Big Boy is just that: a big boy! He’s a buff, bulky kitty, and definitely has a tom cat personality. He’s one of those tuxedo cats (black on the top, white on the belly, with white paws and a mustache), which I have a huge weakness for. He’s pretty shy, and a little unpredictable, but when he does allow us to pet him he’s a complete lover. Up until recently, I thought he had a family, but it turns out he was recently abandoned by some people who were renting a house down the street. They left him here when they moved, and he still sits in front of that same house, waiting for his family to return. He’s quite the fighter, which is made obvious by his mangled right ear, but he doesn’t get angry very often.
- Ramses: With a beautiful dusky grey coat that’s soft as silk and a long face that reminds me of ancient Egyptians, Ramses is regal in every way. He’s also associated with Big Boy, and was previously owned by the same people in the past. He’s never instigated any fights and is always happy to receive a little attention, as well as a snack. The way he carries himself suggests that he’s an older cat, but he seems to be pretty healthy considering the circumstances.
- Wiggles: Yet another tabby, Wiggles’ fur is bright orange and red, with a brilliant pattern. He has a bobbed tail that looks more like a birth defect than the result of an accident, and he really does sort of wiggle when he walks. He belongs to a women’s group home down the street, and tends to act a little odd. If he sees us walking down the street he always follows us, keeping watch like a little guardian, and makes sure we return home safely. The interesting part is that he protects us even on days when he won’t let us pet him. Every now and then, especially if we haven’t seen him for a while (he’s an indoor/outdoor cat) he gets a little excited to see us and allows us to actually touch him. Out of all the cats, I’d say he’s the most striking, and when he allows me to touch him I always feel honored for some reason.
- Zorro: The only non-feline character with an actual name in this sector, Zorro is an eccentric raccoon that absolutely loves cat food and has scared the pants off me a few times. Despite his fearless behavior I do find him interesting, and it always bothers me if I have to chase him off to protect the kitties. Lately he’s been very mild, and has convinced me to allow him to get close, so hopefully he won’t give me any reasons to scare him anymore. You’ll see what I mean soon.
West Side Critters
The West Side has less cats, but a larger variety of animals. After a few blocks the street meets a small park and diverts to the left, so we often take Octo down there late at night so he can have some fun hunting bugs and worms. Even with the lower density of critters, it’s rare for us to not encounter a familiar tail.
- Squeakers: When we first met Squeakers about a year ago I instantly loved her, but she was distant and nervous. She was fascinated by Octo, but wouldn’t come near us at all. It took months of patience and food, but one day she finally trusted us and rubbed up against my leg. She’d been my baby ever since. She’s another of the tuxedo kitties, though she’s a lot smaller than Big Boy, and she has a distinctive white line running up her nose. She purrs a lot, gets ultra excited the moment she sees us, and does a little happy dance in anticipation of attention and snacks. I choose the name Squeakers for her after long deliberation because she squeaks every time she meows, and she’s always a big talker. She’s the only other cat Octo has gotten along with entirely, and she’s super sweet to any other cat.
- Shadow (aka Doppelganger): Shadow is Squeakers’ brother, and looks almost identical to her except that he’s grey instead of black. Just like Squeakers, it took time to get him comfortable with us, but once he did he became completely trusting. He’s very high-energy, and can’t sit still when we pet him. We don’t see him as often as I’d like, but when he does show up it’s always fun.
- Octa: Octa is the shorter, chubbier, female version of Octo. They look so identical that we sometimes confuse them for each other. She’s as sweet as can be, but doesn’t care for other cats and tends to lash out when they get too close. I’m fairly sure that she has owners, but I could be wrong about that. Octa is one of the most adorable cats I’ve ever known.
- Shya (deceased): Shya was a Siamese feral that never got close to us, but was starting to slowly warm up our presence. She was absolutely gorgeous, and very emaciated. Unfortunately, she passed away about two weeks ago when someone ran her over with their car. I named her Shya because she was so reclusive, and even though she’s passed I intend to write about her whenever I can. She deserves no less.
- Wile and E: There’s a pair of coyotes that like to run through the park in the middle of the night, and I’ve even seen them right outside our front door. They’re almost always together, and usually try to stay away from us.
And Many More
This list only covers the animals I see around a lot. There’s still many more that pop out now and then, but I’ll explain them as I talk about them. So, now that we’re beyond the major descriptions we can move on to some of the interesting things the fuzzy little brats in my area do.