There is one cat on our street who Ron and I have nicknamed Friendly Cat, because she always runs up and greets us when she sees us walking by.
One of the benefits of having the cat cafe on our street is that our local “wild” cats are a lot friendlier than on other streets because they’ve been acclimated to humans and are being looked after. On the other hand, this makes me worry about them more, since they are less wary of strangers and could run into some animal-abusing psychopath. But I’ve noticed that people in Taipei, in general, seem to be much more caring and adoring of cats, and cute things in general, than in the United States. I think part may be due to the fact that Taiwan is a rabies-free country, so people are less wary of feral animals. Granted, it’s not good for animal or human alike to have an uncontrolled animal population reproducing left and right on the streets and there are now organizations dedicated to helping keep the count down humanely (the article mentions that cats are considered unlucky in traditional Taiwanese culture, but I’d always been led to believe the opposite is true). But, seriously, I think any rational human being would rather have cats running around than rats or cockroaches. I should know–I spent my year at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism living on the street rumored to be New York City’s most rat-infested, and four months afterward sharing a studio apartment with a colony of mice. I haven’t seen one rat or mouse on my street in my three months here, and have been wearing open-toed shoes with abandon.
Ron and I have been thinking of adopting a cat of our own and are currently researching care costs and the logistics of transporting the cat back to the United States in a couple of years. I’d like to kidnap Friendly Cat, but she seems acclimated to her life now and I don’t think she’d be happy stuck indoors by herself all the time. I don’t know if we’ll be able to do it, or if we’ll have to wait ’til we’re back in the States to adopt, but I already have a name picked out: Sir Ignatius Whiskers. I’ve always wanted a cat named Sir Whiskers.