For displaced, misplaced, and nostalgic ex-Bronxites

Bronx Cat Memories Anyone?

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Posted by lobo on Monday, September 18th 2023:

Did you have a cat growing up in the Bronx?
My grandparents lived on Hughes Ave. & 187th. The kitchen window had a view into an alley/vent shaft one story below. Alley cats would seek shelter & rummage through the garbage cans throughout the day. Every Saturday we would visit, and my mother would toss out several helpings of cat food wrapped in newspapers. The cats would come scrambling, and all seemed to find their way to one of the portions to feed from. We would watch until they had their fill & wander back into the shadows they emerged from. I wonder if this was a habit she had as a child growing up in that same apartment, as she never had a pet of her own. One of my brothers tells me sometime in the late 50’s, they took a bus one snowy Saturday to visit. Somewhere in the Belmont section they spotted a stray Tabby sitting atop a garbage can collecting snow. The cat allowed my mother to pick him up, and from then on, he would be the first of two Bronx street cats we would have growing up on Hull Ave. in Norwood. Our second cat, a kitten born to a stray in an empty lot on Perry Ave. & 209th. St in the 60’s, was with us until she passed in 1985. The charm of these cats made us all cat lovers. My father, who had no interest in cats, grew to appreciate them as well, and adopted the strays that wandered into his butcher shop throughout the years. My last Bronx cat was kitten born to a stray my father took in at his shop on 180th. & S. Blvd. back in 2002. My wife & I had moved to Westchester years earlier, and we had a field mice problem sometime afterwards. She resisted getting a cat to help out, finally agreeing to take the kitten in. It took that South Bronx cat two years to clear up our field mice problem, and in that time she won over my wife’s heart, converting her to a cat lover! She was the last of my Bronx cats. Our current cat is a stray from Cortlandt NY. We love her dearly, but I miss the unique personalities of the former Bronx alley cats I have been blessed with throughout the years…!

Reference ID: BX91662


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