Monday, October 21, 2013

the cat in the tree

A day or so ago, I was taking a shower and staring out my bathroom window. I saw what appeared to be a brown, furry animal high in the branches of a tree across the street, and my immediate thought was: Cat. I was unable to see the beast's head through the waving branches, however, so I couldn't confirm this. As I showered, I continued to stare; the animal seemed at times to take the form of a rabbit (irrational thought, that: rabbits don't climb trees); at other times I wondered whether it was some other type of forest-dwelling mammal. Eventually, the creature did indeed reveal itself to be a cat, which explained why all the birds had been screaming at it.

"Idiot," I muttered as water poured down my face. The cat had treed itself, and was having a hell of a time getting back down. Felines are normally a clever lot, but they get stupid around tall plants, for whatever reason, and this animal was no exception. Slowly, hesitantly, the cat turned itself around and started back down, head-first like a squirrel, to the ground.

Our neighborhood has an army of feral cats roaming it. Koreans are ambivalent at best about having cats as pets; the animals aren't treated that well on the peninsula, and many are simply let go, left to fend for themselves. Natives will often claim that cats' eyes freak them out. Perhaps the little critters are an object of superstition here. After eight years in Korea, I can't tell you how many street cats I've seen that have broken or missing tails-- signs of abuse and neglect. Not that cats generate much sympathy: in our neighborhood, at night, I sometimes hear choruses of cats yowling in counterpoint at each other, or random catfights that begin with vocalizations that sound eerily human.

Cats are at least partially insane, I think. They've been cursed with unhealthy doses of intelligence and curiosity that are counterbalanced by equally unhealthy doses of skittishness and general cowardice.* Perhaps this explains the feline urge to run up trees, then just to sit there, tails twitching irritably, puzzled about how to get back down.

Our neighborhood's back street is almost, but not quite, an alley. A true alley would have buildings on both sides; in our case, there's our row of studio buildings, and across the street, there's the steep face of a wooded hill. Plenty of tree trunks for cats to climb. I look forward to seeing, and perhaps photographing, the next cat to engage in such folly.

*One exception was when our family's cat in Virginia, Mozart, hissingly chased a dog away from our front yard. That was magnificent to behold.



John from Daejeon said...

Never had a problem accessing or from here in Daejeon via KT both ie and Chrome. I just went to both websites seconds ago with still no problems.

Kevin Kim said...

I've heard similar things about Hulu: personally, I've never been able to access it in Korea, but some people say they see it just fine. I guess it depends on your ISP; maybe blockage isn't consistently nationwide. Me, I still can't access Walmart or Target on my desktop, my phone, or my laptop.

Bratfink said...

Why are these comments under a post about CATS?

Just to remind you.... cats yowl when they are mating. They actually sound like they are dying.


(Also, the capcha for me was Icansag. Should have been Idosag.)

Kevin Kim said...

Well, John often violates my comments policy about relevance, and I enable him.

Yeah, I know about the yowling.

The Maximum Leader said...

Funny... I yowl when I want to mate as well.

I don't believe I have other feline tendencies... Other than I'm pretty good at grooming...

Surprises Aplenty said...

I didn't think there were many feral cats in Canada but I recently saw one. I don't kno wwhy but it looked a little cleaner than the ones I saw in Korea. Well, sample size of one.

John from Daejeon said...

Yeah, I'm not a twit...terer, so I sometimes comment on Kevin's twits in the comment section of his latest posts.

I wonder if your school's religious affiliation might have something to do with what you can access on campus via the Internet, especially if they are trying to protect the students from the 7 deadly sins or breaking a commandment or two (Walmart and Target fall into a couple of them). The same might go for the city as it is one of the most conservative in South Korea. But those are only speculations. Maybe someone from up high on campus will have the answer.