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  • Writer's pictureAldona Birmantas

Local Wildlife - New Orleans (Feline Friday Series)

Many people get very excited when they are out and about and are fortunate enough to spot an animal that they normally wouldn’t see or maybe have never seen in person before. I always get excited whenever I’ve been lucky enough to spot eagles, otters, elk or even a more local raccoon or opossum, you name it! These are animals that a lot of us, depending on where you live, of course, may not get to see on a daily basis or ever. But, do you know what other kind of animal I can see while I’m out that will still make me squeal as though I’ve just seen a Sasquatch? If your guess was a cat, you’d be correct!

In my last blog, I mentioned that I was on a trip and that trip was to New Orleans. I go there somewhat regularly and much to my delight, I usually see a lot of cats while I’m out roaming the streets. Of course, any time I do see a cat outside, I am met with conflicting feelings because while I am happy to see them, I also worry that they will get injured, sick or worse. Alas, I try not to dwell on it too much and just enjoy their company. Besides, in the case of the feral ones, I’d bet top dollar that their street survival skills are much better than mine!

Almost always, it takes almost no time or effort to cross paths with a cat when I am visiting New Orleans. Personally, I’ve noticed that some neighborhoods (Bywater and Marigny, for example) seem to have more of them roaming around than other neighborhoods (Uptown, Garden District, French Quarter, to name a few). I stayed in the Garden District this last time, so I wasn’t expecting to see quite as many as I did when I’d stayed in the more cat-heavy areas mentioned above. However, let me tell you how shocked I was at the number of cats I saw on this trip- one! I even discussed the lack of sightings with a friend I was traveling with who is also a fellow cat enthusiast. We even joked about carrying treats to bribe any cats we saw to come say hi to us.

A few days in, I was walking by myself in the French Quarter. I walked past an antique shop and gasped- there was a cat right there in the doorway! I didn’t know his name, of course, so I just called him “Orange Boi”. I took a photo of him and he meowed at me, but would not leave his guardian post at the shop’s entrance. He sat there with a very disinterested yet stern look on his face. I liked to imagine that his purpose there was to welcome people into his shop, but only if they bought something. I oohed and aahed at him for a few minutes, squatting on the ground and partially blocking the flow of foot traffic before eventually bidding farewell. Orange Boi was the one cat I saw on this trip and the first one I have ever seen in the French Quarter.

orange cat in NOLA shop

Prior to this last trip, I visited last fall and stayed in the Touro area, which had a fair amount of cats roaming around. I was walking down a residential street when I heard a little whistle from somewhere, then saw about 8 cats come out of nowhere and run towards a particular house. Upon closer inspection, I saw a woman in the driveway shaking some kibble out onto some plates for the cats. I spoke with her for a minute or two and she explained that she feeds them at this time every day and had even taken some of them to be spayed and neutered in the past. These were definitely “her” cats, despite the fact that they didn’t actually live in her house. Most of them were busy eating, but this stunning tortie stopped just long enough for me to snap a photo. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to take her back home with me.

Then, of course, there is Ms. Pie, who is well-deserving of an honorable mention, not only because I still think about her, but because she is incredibly adorable and sweet. She lives on the porch of where I stayed during a visit in March 2017 in the Bywater neighborhood. It might sound a bit odd that she lives on the porch, but she has an entire set-up with toys, food, water, a little house and a comfy chair. To my understanding, she never leaves the porch and during my 4 days there, I can confirm that she never set paw off of it. She was very talkative and wanted as many pets as I had time to give. I would definitely be lying if I said I didn’t want to take her home with me.

So, where were all of the cats this time? I would like to think that they are safely tucked inside a home somewhere, but I think more likely is that I just maybe wasn’t in the right places at the right times. Luckily for me, though, I had 2 very happy cats of my own waiting for me when I came home.

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