Feeling Lucky

If you were wondering, yes, the coyotes are still around. We haven’t seen the adults lately, but the pups put in an appearance from time to time. Needless to say, we’re not happy about that. But what can one do?

Well, for starters, one can put MM in protective custody.

She’s been an involuntary resident of the catio* for a while now.

* Note, by the way, that the catio has been upgraded with a real roof and a partial wall on the side that gets the most rain. These upgrades should make life much more pleasant for any inhabitants during the rainy season. Assuming we ever have another rainy season, of course.

Don’t let that mild demeanor and the sun-basking fool you. She is not happy to be there.
Not only did she tear the railing off the shelter and make a massive mess of the straw, forcing us to replace the wooden shelter with one of the plastic “quonset hut” shelters from the yard, but she also tore up and tore apart the rubber floor mats.

She’s calmed down a bit, but she still wants nothing to do with the nasty bipeds who locked her up. She hides in the shelter when we take her food out and we hear an occasional “Cattica! Cattica!” chant late at night. At least we’ve persuaded her that the litter box is for excretion, not residency.

We’re not sure how long we’ll hold onto her, but we’ve given up any notion of civilizing her. Once we decide it’s sufficiently safe, we’ll let her loose.

And then there’s the other involuntary recipient of our hospitality.

Meet Lefty.

He hasn’t been with us as long, mostly because it took several times as long to trap him. (We caught MM the first night we tried. Lefty was more cautious, and it took more than a week.)

And if we thought MM was unhappy in the catio, Lefty took matters to previously unconsidered depths. He complained. He prowled around, shoving shelters out of his way, and generally created chaos.

Nor, to be blunt, did he get along with MM. She wanted him in the catio even less than he wanted to be there.

To make matters worse, Lefty is not the most graceful cat we’ve ever met. He’s got an excuse, granted, but the combination of clumsiness and escape attempts resulted in several rather nasty wounds.

Be glad I’m not showing you any of the earlier pictures. This one is quite upsetting enough; the others are…well, put it this way: I did not look at them, just attached them to an email to the vet and hit send as quickly as I could.

No, he’s not a calico; he’s pure black except for a small white patch on his chest. That strip down his forehead and nose is one of the wounds he picked up in the catio.

He took a trip to the vet and he’s looking better now. We’ve given him separate quarters in the garage while he recovers from his neutering, goes through a course of antibiotics, and generally heals up. That space seems to be more to his tastes: we haven’t seen any sign of escape attempts and he’s eating more enthusiastically than he did in the catio.

We don’t know if it’s going to be possible, but we’d like to adopt him into our posse. Not because every team needs a good southpaw (sorry), but because of that excuse for his clumsiness.

Some of you, especially knowing that we generally give neighborhood cats descriptions instead of proper names, may have figured out why we call him “Lefty”. For the rest of you, here’s a hint:

That cloudy right eye is no camera illusion. As we feared, and the vet confirmed, it’s unlikely he’s got any vision in it. We don’t know if it’s acquired or congenital, but either way, it’s not curable.

On the brighter side, the vet doesn’t think there’s any need to remove it to avoid infection. So, while a nicely piratical eyepatch might look good on him, he won’t have to wear one.

Further good news: he’s tested negative for Heartworm, FIV, and FeLV.

So he’s been lucky so far. But monocular vision certainly puts him at a disadvantage on the streets.

We’ll see how he’s doing by the time he finishes his antibiotics. If he’s still relatively chill, we’ll see if we can persuade him to adopt an indoor lifestyle. It’ll be a long haul, and an awkward one, since we don’t feel at all comfortable about putting him back in the catio, even after MM goes on her way. But it’s worth a try. Wish him (further) luck.

Psst! Hey, buddy, want a puppy?

So here’s a new one in the field of hiring: as detailed on their website, Rover.com is giving away puppies for successful referrals. (Rover.com matches dog owners with dog sitters, facilitates communication between owners and sitters, and essentially acts as an escrow service for payment: owners deposit funds with Rover.com via credit card, and Rover.com then pays the sitter after the service is complete.)

Turns out that my initial mental image of puppies being folded in thirds, slipped into envelopes and mailed to referrers isn’t quite right. What they’re actually offering is $1000 to be used for adopting a puppy. I’m not sure that’s a huge improvement.

It seems to me that by positioning the offer the way they have, they are encouraging the recipients to opt for a high-priced purebred from a breeder. How about tweaking it a bit to encourage adoption from a shelter or rescue organization? In all fairness to Rover.com, the web page about the offer does note that you don’t have to spend the money on adoption, or could even donate it to one of their partners – a list that does include shelters and rescue groups. But that suggestion is buried at the bottom of the page, after even the joke about not adopting a cat “because cats are snooty.” Even just rewording it a bit to emphasize using the money not just for an adoption, but also the “start-up costs” (veterinary checkup, chipping, spaying/neutering, etc.) would encourage the adoption of needier animals.

The other problem I have with Rover.com’s offer is that they also give $1000 worth of dog sitting. Actually, they provide a $1000 credit with their own service. In short, they’re using a hiring opportunity to create customers – and possibly taking business away from sitters who already have relationships with Rover.com’s new customers.

OK, Rover.com is only looking to hire four people, and apparently they only paid out for one referral, so it’s not that big a deal in the greater scheme of things, but what if the idea catches on, especially with larger companies?

Suppose Amazon made a similar offer: refer a new employee and we’ll give you $500 to buy an ebook reader and $500 worth of books. $500 will get you just about any reader on the market, or even most of the available tablets. Of course, that $500 in books is actually a credit with the Kindle store, so you had better buy a Kindle if you want the best possible reading experience. Sure, you could buy a tablet from someone else and install the Kindle app, but I’m sure Amazon would be the first to remind you that if you get a Kindle you can use the rest of the $500 to buy apps, music, and videos.

An interesting transaction, wouldn’t you say? Amazon gets a new employee (your referral) that they think will earn them money in the long run, and a locked-in customer. And even if you don’t buy the Kindle, they still get at least half of the money they offered you for the referral back, since the unused portion of that $500 credit they gave you expired after a few months.

Where else might this idea work to the benefit of a business?

Hey, Ford (and all the other auto manufacturers) needs a lot of people. Make a referral and they’ll give you $1000 toward the purchase of a new car and $1000 in maintenance (in the form of a credit with your local Ford dealership’s shop). Think that might sway you to buy a Ford over some other maker’s car? Even if you weren’t quite ready to buy a new car yet? Of course you could just pocket the $1000 and not buy a car – but then you’ll lose the second $1000! Oh noes!

See where I’m going with this?

Before anyone asks, no, I’m not proposing that there should be laws regulating the coupling of referral bonuses to company products and services. Let us just spread the word to say “No to puppies!” Anyone want to contribute a logo to the cause?