18h15 UTC; THURSDAY, 7 NOVEMBER 2013:  "Cat," in case you didn't know it, is the first word in "Catalina."

As in Santa Catalina Island (or just simply Catalina Island), something of a popular summer haunt of Southern Californians wanting something beyond the mainland staples of Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain or even Venice Beach, just 26 miles from San Pedro, the main gateway to Catalina via ferry (high-speed and otherwise) and seaplane services.

Which explains something of a je ne sais quoi appeal to cat lovers (even such of the LOLcat persuasion, come to think of it) who can't help but notice quite a few cats running at large in and around Avalon, the Island's main settlement ... as well as in the Interior thereof and in the rather smallish hamlet of Two Harbors at the Isthmus. And perhaps one reason for this is that, for generations, boaters wanting to get rid of unwanted or stray cats have found a cheap and cheerful disposal alternative to the local humane society shelter (and its rather barbaric depravities of euthanasia) on Catalina Island.

Which, at times, has led to destructive results on the local ecosystem, in particular the extinction of the Catalina quail in the mid-1920's ... but then again, the Island of Romance has seen its share of locals compassionate about the local feline population, even if it's mainlanders as are the source of their feline populace (what with the local feral clowders--yes, "clowder" is the term for a group of cats--usually being spayed or neutered by the local Humane Society in the interest of not only a stable cat population, but also the Catalina ecosystem, especially in areas under protection of the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy).

Whether they're left in Beautiful Downtown Avalon among the tackier specimens of souvenir and T-shirt shops facing Avalon Bay or at some isolated cove along the Island, Catalina's cats could be said to have it easy when it comes to feral cat communities, even if it turns out being a mixture of several breeds (not to mention at least one or two runts in the bunch). But to imagine the cats actually being able to dive underwater among the several dive spots around the Island--could it be a little too much?

In any event, the Catalina cat population must be one of those things as makes Catalina Island as popular as it is. And as unique as it is. Just so long as they avoid reducing it to an oversized litter box, with potential detrius to the local ecosystem ... or, for that matter, the feral colonies don't overbreed (as a matter of fact, those of you as want to use Catalina as a dumping ground for unwanted cats may want to have them spayed or neutered beforehand; it's been suggested that, in the course of a year, a pair of cats in reproductive condition, left unchecked, can produce enough offspring which, if itself left unchecked, can cause the colony to swell to over a million head. Remember Li'l Bub.)

And come to think of it, has anybody engaged in the marketing and promotion of Catalina Island considered developing a feline mascot (or clowder thereof) best encapsulating the charm and je ne sais quoi of "Cat"alina which, ideally, would make Psycho Chihuahua look like Mickey Mouse but, at the same time, would have that quality that the Japanese call kita-kawaii ("gross, but cute") comparable to the former mascot Trolls that Magic Mountain had through much of the 1970's into the mid-1980's, soon after the park was sold to Six Flags, attracting its own fan base among collectors of things kawaii (even in social media)?

"Another small house is finished in the next block"
(to Engrishfy the closing remarks on every episode of the "slice-of-life"
radio series Vic and Sade through the years)


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