The other day began with picking up the trash, the trash that, as it's told, blows in, except for those cat tins and beer bottles. I believe they do not take to the wind so well. In fact, the amount of trash on the sidewalk, in the tree pits, and especially near the corner storm drain was more than I had ever seen. Too heavy for the street sweepers to pick up, now, the neighborhood will have to get out there to clean it up. I cleared the sidewalk cutaway and the drain, leaving the rest for another day or someone else with initiative, as I had my hands full with the garden and tree pits.
I am disheartened by the number of bagged dog turds thrown into the garden. This behavior seems otherworldly -someone has already bagged the doo, yet tosses it into the garden instead of one of the many pails. I keep telling myself that it only takes one to make such a mess, just to keep my heart open to all the dog owners I see. But then there are those who let their dog drop yellowcake on the fenceline, undiscovered until I am toe deep in it while raking the leaves or trash out of the garden.
Most turds I find through olfaction, and recently this sense has been overloaded. Last fall one of my upstairs neighbors stopped to tell me that she smelled 'cocky.' Her english is not very good, and she was pointing to the garden. I wasn't sure what she was telling me. Does she not like the garden?
Today she stopped to tell me she was again smelling too much cocky. She said it was wafting up and in through her windows, ruining her quality of life (I can only presume). I too smelled the cocky and it is raunchy, adding a rank flavoring to our outdoor experience. I told her it was cat shit, but she heartily disagreed, saying for sure that cat's dung smells different, and this surely was people poo, aka cocky, and they're dropping it at night on the sidewalk and the place in front of the building where the landlord keeps his utility poles, which happens to be underneath her windows.
It is hard for me to fathom that people are squatting to poop in front of our house. Besides, a walk with eyes through the utility pole zone reveals an alarming amount of fresh and old turds, and I am pretty sure they are dropped by cats. Cat's that eat whatever human food they can find are probably going to make a nasty stink, and the same goes for people's dogs, whose tree pit turds I can attest are just as rank. Cat's like loose soil and privacy, but this winter both were erased by mountains of snow. Between the poles and our south facing building, the snow melted early on, creating one of few 'good' spots for them, and they did it by night. Another neighbor tells me they (the cats, that is) started going in their basement door well -probably a good day spot if you're a cat.
My upstairs neighbor told me that two years ago one of our other neighbors, a nice elderly man, was discovered to have 75 cats, living and dead, in his house. A team was brought in to deal with the 'situation', although to this day cats still follow him around the block.
Oh man, are you feeling sick after reading all this? If you've got problems with feral cats, check out the NYC Feral Cat Initiative.
*Minor Update: this Sunday someone shoveled up the winter's garbage around the storm drain. Thanks to whoever had the initiative.