Wednesday, October 27, 2004

What is the proper etiquette?

Let me start out by clearly stating that I love cats. I have had at least one cat for the last 18 years. Everyone clear on this point so far? I, Randy Semel, love animals of the feline persuasion, I love dogs too, but that’s for another day.

Driving down Oxnard Blvd this morning, a cat was casually crossing the busy 4 lane street without looking both ways first. I had him dead in my sights and could have easily made him road kill, but instead I slowed down and tapped my horn 3 times. Now previous experience in these situations tells me that the soon to be splattered animal will usually hesitate, then freeze and then do a 180 and return to where it came from. But, noooooooo, not this morning and not this obvious decedent of Forest Gump. No, this rocket scientist to be instead pauses and then bolts across the remaining three lanes of traffic in high gear and into one of the many surrounding apartment buildings on this busy and heavily populated street.

Here’s my question, if I would have wasted this genius, what would have been my obligation to find its owner? We have all heard the stories of pets being hit by a car and the driver not stopping. So let’s supposed I thinned the feline population by one under-achiever, would I then want to scrape the cat up and go door to door in this predominantly Spanish speaking neighborhood asking “Hola, esta es su gato?” Or does one just knock on doors saying “do you have a white cat? Oh, you do? Well he’s in the East bound slow lane on Oxnard. Bring a spatula, sorry.” Or maybe for efficiency and cowardice sake, you post flyers saying “SORRY I RAN OVER FLUFFY” with a picture of the newly flattened. I mean once the cat is dead this is really just a courtesy call. It's not like I’m going to be paying cash for running over someone’s stupid cat. So what does one do in such a delicate situation?

Fortunately, I did not have to make a choice this morning. But this is the route I take to and from work everyday. People, lock up your cats, or teach them how to cross the street.