Turf wars are everywhere, even in our compound. Our opinion of said wars, both feral and human, swings between entertained and confounded. It is amazing what people will get their knickers in a twist about in this place. This week it's cats.
We have a few cats on the compound, most of them wild. (Actually all of them, bar an import from Portugal, are wild). There are a few people who feed the cats. Either they have, like us, semi-adopted a cat (whose name is Cat, a name the grandchildren consider a non-name), or they simply put out plates of left over food for whichever cat is wandering by at the time.
There are other tenants on the compound, we'll call them the 'The Anti-Catters' (AC's for brevity), who consider the cats a bit of a nuisance, I'm guessing they, like many of their fellow Other Arabs, aren't really animal loving people. (Perhaps this is gross stereotyping of Other Arabs, however I have seen so many of our Other Arab residents jump in sheer horror when something live with fur on it enters their personal space that the conclusion isn't that hard to reach).
I have to say that, on the rare occasions when all the compound cats do decide to crawl out of the sprinkler storage systems, where they like to spend their days in relative comfort, and sit about waiting for a free nighttime feed from whoever is cooking on the Bar-B-Q, there are quite a few of them. Occasionally there is a spot of caterwauling too, but as I sleep next to a nightly chainsaw called Snoring Hubster, cat calls don't generally make it onto my night sounds radar.
Recently, emails have been flying between the AC's and Management about the cats on the compound. Apparently one or two among our population of felines has been attacking children. I hazard a guess that said children like to chase the cats into corners. Any child capable of chasing a cat into a corner is old enough to understand that cats, wild or otherwise, when chased into corners are not very friendly. I'm not sure if the parents have taken the time to explain proper treatment of animals to their offspring so that cat chases and subsequent scratches would highly likely be avoided. Or perhaps the parents have tried this course and aren't aware that the child they are raising isn't a very good listener - a category into which a number of kids around here seem to fall.
So the cats have come under fire and all must be removed, according to the Anti-catters. Others of us approached Management about the Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) program that Open Paws offers and Management was very open to the idea. However, the Anti-catters weren't happy with that plan at all. They wanted, neigh demanded, removal of all felines on the compound.
We've tried explaining that removal of the current, relatively healthy, fairly stable population of cats will probably result in one of two things, (or both if we get really lucky) - an increase in vermin such as mice, rats, lizards, roaches and scorpions, or the removed population will simply be replaced by wilder, more mangy, street cats who will scrap each other over there newly aquired, recently vacated territory. We even mentioned that neutering will reduce the number of new kittens being produced and will also result in less yowling because cats yowl when on heat and mating. But all our explanations are falling on deliberately stony ears under the excuse of 'religion'. So we even sent through a few scholarly discussions about how neutering is actually better for cat health. But the Anti-catter's still won't be persuaded.
We have come to the conclusion that such stone walling is not actually about the cats or the common sense of our argument. It's about the Anti-Catter's getting their own way. You see, our current management is relatively new, so the Anti-Catters have seen an opportunity to exert some control over compound affairs. Why they feel the need to exert such control is beyond me, but they do. Possibly this urge hit them because new management is a woman with a soft touch. Previous management (also a woman but made of sterner stuff) couldn't be bothered with the pettiness and demands of our resident Other Arabs, so kept them, and their politics, where it belonged - out of our faces. The new management, unfortunately, prefers to entertain them, hence their politics and turf wars are now beginning to divide our compound.
To make matters worse, should the new management try to make a decision that the AC's not like, they simply run to the bloke above her, (we'll call him Over The Top Management), who just happens to be of the same nationality as the AC's and he, naturally being of the same ilk, the sort of ilk that doesn't want men to appear weaker than women, but doesn't seem to mind if they appear somewhat more stupid) supports everything they say.
It's quite sad.
At the same time.
So, as far as the cat saga goes, Miss Management decided to do the responsible thing and agreed to the TNR program. The thought that cats would be clubbed, drowned or dumped in the desert made her feel bad. Consequently, we cat adopters got together with Miss Management and worked with Open Paws to trap the cats. Our Lovely Vet neutered the cats. And then the AC's kicked up a stink! They sent emails saying, neigh demanding, that the cats not be returned. They must have been quite aggressive emails for Miss Management to turn around within an hour and tell Our Lovely Vet to keep the cats. (I know it was within an hour because it takes me 40 minutes to walk to the nearby mall and when I passed by Miss Management on my way out she was quite positive about the cats, and before I'd reached the Mall, Lovely Vet rang to ask what the heck was going on as Miss Management had changed her mind).
Miss Management did concede that those who had adopted cats could go and pick them up but the cats were to be kept indoors at all times! I'm guessing the AC's and Over The Top Management felt very good about themselves demanding those terms.
Much discussion was had between Management, we cat adopters and Our Lovely Vet (not necessarily in that order). In the end it was concluded that Management had entered into an agreement to Trap, Neuter and Return. The trap and neuter part went without a hitch. The return was going to be completed one way or another.
So it appears that the the cats are back, (minus two - a mother who had to be euthanased and another who management was adamant was not to be returned). Should Miss Management, at the behest of the Anti-cat lobby, decide now to trap and remove the cats, she can. But a cat that has been trapped once is highly unlikely to enter a trap again...so good luck with that folks!
(The Anti-Catters might be interested to know that there is also a new cat on the compound. A huge grey male with a massive head and big nuts! I'm guessing he's one of those wild street cats who took advantage of the fact there were no cats on our compound for over 48 hours and decided to move in and claim his new turf. Here's hoping he never gets chased into a corner by the resident kids with no ears, because by the looks of him, he could do some serious damage.)