The East Side of Saint Paul, Minnesota is gritty. Its houses are old working class. Its workers don’t work much since the brewery, Whirlpool, and a 3M plant closed. The old-timers call it The Mining. The new-timers come from elsewhere. Some aren’t doing well.
I know. I am Miracle; I was an East Side cat. I was somebody’s pet, like other East Side cats. People moved or the boyfriend didn’t like us. People dumped us in parks. We formed colonies to care for each other. People called us ferals and strays.
We survived, but my teeth went bad from eating mice and moldy pizza. A cat without teeth is not much. I weighed six pounds. I couldn’t crunch pizza or rodents. I made a hidey hole in a bush and hoped.
Some East Side people worried. They contacted Feline Rescue. Two women came to do Trap-Neuter-Return. We could keep our hidey holes if we liked them, but we couldn’t multiply. They were Molly and Deb. Neither of them was much bigger than a cat. They weren’t wearing “Animal Control” shirts.
This Deb crawled right into my hidey. “Fella, I thought you were dead. Good thing you moved. You are skin and bones.” I took a faithful leap and said, “I’m coming with you.”
I saw a veterinarian, got my teeth fixed, and got me fixed. They discovered I was friendly, not feral. I’m now living in a foster home, putting meat under my skin and on my bones. I will be one big, handsome, happy guy.
I heard about Tree Kitty, another East Sider. Sylvie was walking around a lake. Kids were poking sticks into a hollow tree at a cat family. Sylvie told the kids to scram. With Annette and Angela, who call themselves No Kitten Left Behind, she captured the two larger cats.
The little one ran into the woods, then back into the tree. She was without her family. It was October. Molly said, “I returned the next morning and saw no sign of the kitten. The food was untouched. I looked way up the tree and saw her trembling on a branch, looking very cold (it was below freezing with snow on the way).”
Molly called Tree Guy. He couldn’t reach her. Molly called another arborist who, in turn, called Taylor, a third arborist. Deb said, “He went up the tree like a monkey!”
Molly said, ”He’s a world-class climber. He was up there an hour and a half, trying to reach Sookie, tucked inside the hollow tree just out of reach. Shortly after Taylor said he was going to give up, I heard her crying and saw her in his hands. He zipped her into a bag and brought her down.”
I, Miracle, never met Sookie. I feel I know her. She’s an East Side cat. We’re both orange tabbies. We have the tough resilience of the old East Side. We’re wintering in Feline Rescue foster homes. Come spring, we will find forever homes.