At 18th and Blue Island there's a sad little sign with the headline:
Donde Esta Jeffrey?
Jeffrey is a black and white cat who went missing a couple of days ago. Judging from the sign (and the English translation) Jeffrey's owners are beside themselves with worry after the little guy decided to bolt out the door the moment they took off his collar to give him a flea treatment.
As an outsider, it seems to me that this cat wasn't too happy in the first place. Why else would he make a break for it just as winter hits? Was he plotting this moment for weeks, or even months? Maybe playing the nice little house cat role was too much for him. He wanted to see what the gritty streets of Pilsen had to offer.
If you're a cat or a dog, I think you'd have quite a time.
One of the first things I noticed when moving here from Little Italy is the number of stray cats and dogs hanging out. And I was struck by how tough and aloof these animals acted.
The dogs scared me a little at first. But when I got closer to a group that was crossing the street up ahead of me one day, it kind of reminded me of something out of Lady and the Tramp. Regardless, steering clear of them seemed like a good idea. I'm also careful never to walk around with a pot roast in my purse, just in case. I'm not taking any chances.
The cats are a different story. They're enormous, rude, and they act like they own the alley when you go to throw away the garbage. I've yet to see a rat; I'm convinced the cats swallow them whole. And they steal.
Really, they do.
The day after the telethon for Hurricane Katrina I realized I couldn't find my debit card. I had taken it out the night before to make a pledge (only because I wanted to see if I could get Brad Pitt on the phone to tell him how skanky Angelina is) and threw it on the coffee table where a bunch of newspapers sat waiting to take their rightful place in a landfill. That morning I was doing my usual Saturday cleaning and must have thrown the card out with the papers.
Hours later when I realized what I did, I went to the alley and got my bag, which had been CLAWED open. I didn't find the card, but I was greeted by a cat giving me a look that said, "Bitch, I got your card and you ain't never gettin' it back." I might be mistaken, but I think he flashed me a gang sign with his paws.
I glared back for a moment and then bolted upstairs to call my bank. If I hadn't acted quickly, I'm convinced that this gang of street-tough cats would have been halfway to Mexico on my hard-earned dime.
So yeah. I think Jeffrey was lured to the streets and is probably caught up in some illicit activity with his fellow strays. Hopefully his owners will come to accept that he wasn't theirs to have in the first place.
Watch your back, Jeffrey. And don't take any wooden nickels.