The Truth About Cats And Dogs In Vietnam – Part II
Two months ago I was on the brink of becoming a cat-murderer.
The pain of losing not one but two birds to rogue street cats had both Darling Man and I contemplating cat-icide as we wrestled with how to protect our pets, our house and our food from our unwelcome feline visitors.
You might remember I wrote this long post about the death of Birdie and how our local dog and cat restaurant could be the solution to our problem.
For a week or so, I barely let our three surviving budgies out of my sight. I carried their cage around the house. They were with me in my office when I worked and they slept in our helper’s room with the door closed.
The birds, creatively named Blue, Yellow and Green, were shut in the helper’s room for two whole weeks while we were in Cambodia.
When we came back, it was crunch time. We had to find a solution.
“There’s no point having birds if they’re locked away in a room upstairs,” I told Darling Man.
“Yeah,” he said, sadly, standing at the back door looking at our small courtyard, territory “owned” by the street cats, even though it’s surrounded by an eight-foot high fence.
We were quiet for a while. These kinds of conversations are hard.
We watched silently as one of the cats strolled along the top of the fence, flicking its kinked tail at us in contempt.
I couldn’t even summon the energy to spray it with the hose, our usual cat-deterrent technique. Our mostly-Alsatian dog lay beside me looking innocently in the other direction, pretending, as usual, not to have noticed the interloper.
“The cat restaurant,” I said. “Could you really do it?”
Darling Man eyed the top of the fence. “I don’t think I could catch the cats,” he said. He’d told me earlier that cat and dog restaurants don’t do home visits. If we wanted to sell them some “fresh” cats we’d have to catch them ourselves.
“No,” I said. “I mean … could you really sell a cat to a restaurant to be killed?”
Darling Man looked sheepish. “Naw,” he said.
“Me either,” I confessed. “Although if someone just came and took the cats away, maybe I could do it. I mean, in Australia, stray cats and dogs are caught and then killed. They’re just not eaten afterwards.”
We both stared silently into the backyard again.
“There’s no point having birds if we have to lock them away upstairs,” I said again.
“Yeah,” Darling Man said, sadly.
I told him I thought we should give them away.
“Yeah,” he said, sadly.
And we half-heartedly discussed who we could give them to.
And then we didn’t discuss the issue for a few days.
And then one afternoon I went downstairs and found a bare-chested Darling Man balanced on the weird decorative rock feature in our courtyard, sewing some green mesh to the fence.
It took him two days to create a secure mesh barrier at the top of the fence.
When he finished we both stood at the back door again, staring at our courtyard. It actually felt like “our” courtyard for a change.
Mitzie the dog looked guiltily in the other direction. She doesn’t know how to deal with the cats’ poor manners.
And just like that our street cat problem was solved … with a cat-proof fence.
Now our budgies are in our courtyard, hanging under a tree unmolested by street cats. They have to stay in a cage, unfortunately, because I don’t think Australian native birds would survive too well in the wilds of Vietnam.
And there you have it. The truth about cats and dogs (and birds) and Darling Man and me — we are too soft to condemn feral cats to death.
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9 years ago