ParkTales - Frances and the feral cats


Frances under the watchful eye of the feral cats
By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.


I have many friends in my apartment building. That is an important reason as to why I love my Parkdale.
Now this particular experience is almost something unreal.
I have a friend who about six years ago lost her cat. This meaning the cat passed on. Deceased. Dead.
I consoled her and told her I understood the grief she was going through. 
Now my friend, (let's call her June), didn't have the means to call the appropriate authorities to pay for the disposal of her beloved pet.
So we thought, let's bury her behind the apartment building. There was a nice spot there.
As we carried the mysterious bag around to the back of the building. The  superintendent of the time saw what we were up to and said, "You can't do that it's illegal."

We proceeded anyway.
No big deal nobody  other than the super, noticed.
In fact now there is a nice tree growing above our little grave.
I didn't see June, my neighbour in question, for a long time.  
On and off I would see her in passing and we exchanged hugs.
Now, today, as I was leaving our apartment building I saw her in front of the building asking if anyone had seen her cat.
Oh, oh, I thought, yesterday when I looked over the balcony I saw a dead cat on the driveway leading into the building, obviously fallen from a balcony.
She described her cat to me and the description matched.
I said this is too much déjà vu.
She said, "Frances you must be my angel."

I hugged her with memories of six years ago.
I said let's go down in the driveway and make sure it's your cat.
Well, we went down, and sure enough there was her beautiful cat.  All white with a marmalade tail.
She cried and I tried to console her.
I said be careful don't talk too loud everyone will be on their balcony looking over and watching us.
She said, she would go up and get a bag to put her cat in.
I said okay, I'll wait for you in front of the building.
I waited for her in the lobby to come down with her bag.
When she did I said,"Let's go out the back door that way no one will see us going down the driveway."
I said, "Remember, don't talk because everyone can hear us."
We crept down the side of the driveway and approached the cat. 
There she was, a beautiful cat.
June cried again.
We quickly, silently, put the cat in the large plastic bag.
As we were doing this June cried, "They're watching us."  I looked up and said, Who?
She replied, "The cats."  
Sure enough up on top of the garage roof were three feral cats just staring at us as if in judgment.
It was surreal.  These cats were watching us. The look on their faces I will never forget. Very solemn. So sad. Watching everything we were doing.
We felt as if we were on trial.
We quickly took our bundle up the driveway to the garbage bins.
We saw the new superintendent of the building standing on the front lawn. We tried to act nonchalant.
As June put the bundle in one of the bins, the superintendent, yelled, "Not in that bin! Put it in the third bin!"
I approached him and just had to tell him the truth of the situation, which of course, he had deduced.
He said, "It's okay. I phoned the city yesterday to come and they said they would be here in 24 hours. So they're late." 
What a relief, he was so friendly and understanding, with a smile on his face.
He was Tibetan and said don't worry, your cat had a good life and has gone on in "different clothes."
I hugged June once again. 
She was crying and we were so relieved at the response of this compassionate superintendent.
Once again June said, "Frances you must be my angel."  I replied, "I'm so glad I was there for you."
My Parkdale

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