When I walk downtown Aberdeen, I get approached by various street beggars who ask for money. Every time I have to say no. Some times I asked them about their Food Stamps situation and Food Bank awareness. They generally only want money anyway. In fact, one guy told me that he needed 80 cents to buy a cheap beer. It sounds like a bad investment, and he knew it.
Cats and dogs are different though. The friendly ones, or the ones raised by humans, beg on a different level than poor humans. They don’t know how to take no for an answer. No matter how many times I say no, they don’t go away. I tell the animal that I am just as poor as you. You wouldn’t normally see me in this area, at this time of day, if I had more money.
I tell the homeless people that I am just as poor as them. They find it easy to ask me for money since we walk by each other on the sidewalk. It only takes a few words within earshot. But, I try to convey that the people who really have the money to donate are driving those nice cars that never seem to stop. They have the drivers who never seem to hear your requests either.
I walked by another stray cat tonight. I have been walking by it for some days now, but this time was different. It meowed a few times like it really needs attention. It is an orange cat, which are usually my favorite color cats. They seem to have the hardest time catching prey. It approached me and I petted it. Then after a couple minutes of petting and greeting, I walked away as best I could. Bet it kept walking in front of me, almost causing several tripping accidents.
I will give credit to the homeless people for at least remembering my face. They don’t ask me for money a second time. They remember what I said the first time. They may remember my attitude. I have a problem giving attitude to people. That may be an experience that resonates with them when they come into contact with me. It’s too bad they just weren’t easy to pet like a cat.
For almost any friendly stray, I can certainly give a free petting to. But I can’t pet them forever and they have to realize that at some point the petting experience must end. Also, I feel guilty about not having any food on me for them. Usually the animals look to me for food. I mean, how much pleasure do they really get from just a simple petting from a stranger?
I think the homeless know to expect that most people will tell them they have no money. The homeless have to make some of the hardest sales pitches out of anyone in the country. They have to ask for free money that gives back no value to the donator and there is no clear plan on what the money will go to. Of course, the homeless know they make a real hard sale.
Cats experience a different kind of training in begging. For the feral, they learned at one time, food was quite plentiful and consistent, but then it stops abruptly. The cat or dog doesn’t get an explanation what happened to the food or their master. The attention stops and now they are left to tentatively pick up new skills. Perhaps another human will come a long and offer food like the previous one?
In this area where I park my car, there are almost 7 cats that congregate near an abandoned home. I never hear a cat fight around here. They all get along, no matter how hungry they get. There is a vet office nearby. I am not sure if they are aware of the cat problem. Either way, the cats are very isolated from the rest of the town. They only the shopping center in which to beg. To get to the city, they need to cross a bridge, which I’m sure none of them would dare to do.
In Aberdeen, many of the bridges have No Trespassing signs underneath them. I don’t understand what they danger of going under a bridge can be. It’s already supposed to be safe on top of the bridge, how is underneath it considered more of a hazard?
Inequalities are not noticed by stray animals. Maybe that’s a good thing.