Monday, August 6, 2007

'arry Potter

Some of you might have noticed our obsession with all things Harry Potter. I am aware that Rowlings's books are not exactly high art, but they are fantastic nonetheless. Perhaps the prose isn't always magical, but the storytelling is wonderful and the world she's created, well, it's hard to beat for creativity and blessed escapism.

Paul and I read the aloud books together, and we regularly host parties. Here's a shot of the invitation to the last Potter party we hosted, at my parents' house for the release of the 4th movie.

Not the aged parchment, complete with burned edges. I also sealed each envelope with wax stamped by a lightening bolt.

We enjoyed the 5th movie a great deal last month, even more than the small feast we had afterwards comprising butter beer, pumpkin bread, banana bread, Bernie Botts Every Flavor Beans, licorice wands, and a dark chocolate cake shaped like a castle.

We're behind on our reading this year, though. With the addition of children to our social schedule, and the books getting longer and longer, it's increasingly difficult to find time to read together. We haven't begun book 7, so we're assiduously avoiding spoilers and hoping for the best.

A few days before the new book published, I started over reading Book 1. On our way up to Iowa for Paul's family's reunion, we started listening to Book 6 on CD. We're still not quite done with that, but I'm up to Book 5 rereading independently, and we should be ready to start Book 7 in a week or so. We're very excited.

I've given up several things to make room for all this Potter (note that Harry himself is one of my least favorite characters). Like another of my obsessions, Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Also, sleep (see next paragraph). And I've spent so much time lying on my right side nursing Ada and reading lately that I developed painfully blocked ducts on the left. (Better now, but I'm back to nursing while sitting up for a while.)

All that background and I lost my point. Alas.

Instead, I'll ask an unrelated question. They're not the owls on Privet Drive from Book 1, but we're a bit over-run by cats here. We have some neighbors who let their cats run free about the neighborhood, which frustrates me. And it seems that perhaps some of these pets are not spade or neutered, because there's a young litter of kittens living across the street, and an older litter hunting in our yard, chasing our cardinals. Last night, they broke into our screened in porch. My next door neighbor (like me, not a cat person) complains that just outside her front door smells like a litter box, and she's got a point. I'm getting annoyed. What should I do about this cat problem?


  1. I'd call animal control if they are being a nuisance or call the humane society. If they are truly neighbors cats they would have collars and be returned to their owners, but otherwise, that's just irresponsible. Haven't they ever watched Bob Barker?

    Seeing Potter 5 hopefully tonight. Read Potter 7 in 2 days much to chagrin of husband. Oops.

  2. Thanks, Amanda! Did you enjoy the book? I hope you like the movie; I had low expectations, which helped, but I loved it. Especially the special effects.

    We had dinner with S & P the other night; I was very sorry to hear about your cat. Hope you're all well.

  3. My cats do not wear collars. They were always losing them and I got tired of replacing them or picking them up from the person who found them. I am happy that I live in a neighborhood that does not mind my roaming kitties.

    I would personally never call animal control on my neighbors unless there was obvious mistreatment. I do believe that spaying/neutering does fall under responsible pet ownership but I do not assume that everyone can afford or understands the importance. If it were a requirement, I would not have had a cat growing up because it was years before my mom could afford to have her spayed.

    If the kittens are small and not being claimed by anyone, I would call animal control or take them to the shelter before they get big enough to scatter.

    I love all of the HP stuff. Sounds like so much fun!

  4. Feel free to send some of the roaming kitties to our neighborhood...we seem to have a bunny problem. Also, they're welcome on our deck any time, we have some birds who think it's fun to poop on our patio table. Heck, as long as we can keep the lid on our sandbox, I would gladly feed any cats wandering through our yard for their services--but, we don't seem to have outdoor or stray cats around here.

    Truthfully, after losing several indoor-outdoor cats to cars growing up, I would never let a pet cat outside, and I cringe when others do. I second Amanda's post about calling the humane society (or a no-kill shelter if you can find one in the phone book) if they're being pests (and for their own safety)--many collarless cats may be microchipped if they are pets, and will likely find their way home.

  5. Have you talked to your neighbor? Don't call animal control - they will kill them. The Humane Society won't.

    I live with two creatures (aka cats) myself. I don't let them out because I'm so codependent I'm afraid they won't come back to me.

    As far as HP goes. I'm now getting interested. I've seen all 5 movies, and have all the books on CD reserved at the Logan library. I'll slowly get through them on my various trips the end of this summer / fall semester.


  6. I wouldn't call animal control straight off the bat, but I would call a no-kill shelter or feral rescue to ask their advice, since it will probably be much more applicable to your city's laws.

    We had a feral colony living four doors down the street from us for years. The owner of the house would set out great big plates of cat food which not only encouraged the ferals, but also fed any manner of raccoons, squirrels, opossums, etc. Occasionally animal control would come to clean up the colony and trap a few dozen of the cats, even though our neighbor always claimed they were his "pets" (but he never let them inside his house or cared for them in any way other than the plates of food).

    It sounds like what you have is a couple (or a few) un-"fixed" pets that are well on their way to establishing a feral colony. It's better to get these things under control sooner rather than later, imho.

  7. If you can tell who they belong to, I'd talk to them first; if you can't tell and they're doing damage, I'd call your local Humane Society and ask whether they're a no-kill shelter or know of a no-kill shelter, and then report them. I don't think you're doing them any favors letting them turn feral, if indeed that's the situation. (And this from a cat person, fyi.)

  8. Sometimes the humane society doesn't come out to pick up animals and if you can't catch them yourself then I would call animal control. I'm the last person who would want to see a healthy cat destroyed, but they are just as likely to get hit by a car or contract disease if left to run wild.

    I enjoyed the book. Phil didn't enjoy the movie very much. It's been a while since he saw the last few. I enjoyed it though I had some difficulty with the changes and editting choices. That and the guy behind me didn't know how to cover his mouth when he coughed and I'd get a breeze across the top of my head from time to time. Yuck.

  9. You could also try calling a local veterinarian and see what they suggest. That's a little more unofficial than calling animal control, but they'll know who to call (or avoid).

  10. You'll be lucky to find a no-kill shelter here in the St. Louis metro area that isn't full. And if you do, you'll have to trap them yourself, putting yourself at risk from all sorts of yucky problems and diseases should you be bitten or clawed. The Humane Society will not trap, either.

    It sounds cruel, but unless you know exactly which neighbors and can rely on a civil discussion of the matter, call Animal Control. If you do know which neighbors but can't rely on civility, ring up City Hall and check on the number of animals allowed per household, and alert them to any violations.

    On HP: You'll find you can "age" your "parchment" even further with a used, barely damp tea bag.

  11. Ooh, and I meant to say, we are totally having an HP-themed Fall Party this year (we have start-of-season parties because there just aren't enough excuses for a party, IMHO). The paper printed butterbeer and pumpkin pasties recipes. Joy!