Only On Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 12/02/2022

An islander proposes this creative way to deal with mail theft, “​​New use for the people who steal our packages. Replace your cat’s litter box with an Amazon box. When it is full, set it out beside the mailbox for the package thieves.”

We take this suggestion 100% seriously and immediately critique the idea, speaking with knowledge of the methods and psychology of mail thieves. They’ll shake the boxes and know it’s litter, we say. They’ll smell the poop. They’ll dump the boxes on our roadside, and then who will clean it up?

Photo 179090817 © RightFramePhotoVideo |

Some made suggestions for improvement to make the plan more viable. Fill the boxes with exploding dye, so we know who the thieves are. But if someone comes to harm, wouldn’t you be liable? At what point does a prank become an act of domestic terrorism?

Others note that they have cats, pigs, and dogs and would be willing to donate ammo to the cause. I like to see that spirit of generosity during the holiday season. 

We have this rant about cats: “I’m starting to find all of the missing cat posts depressing. Simply put, KEEP YOUR CATS INDOORS!! I don’t care if they “want to be outside”. They kill millions of songbirds every year and damage the ecosystem. I’ve personally had 2 cats killed by cars also. Keep them shut inside.”

Photo 174186929 © Malquerida Studio |

This inside vs outside cats argument is absurd because we all know that cats should be kept in a box, suspended in the liminal space between life and death, their state unknown until observed.

Still, one person asks, “How did your cats get killed by cars if you keep them shut inside?”

The original poster doesn’t answer, which we assume is because they are totally flummoxed by this cutting observation rather than not noticing a comment on another comment below a rant they posted a week earlier. One islander says they didn’t answer “because cat people tend to be pretty toxic..”

But maybe cat people aren’t toxic, they’re just witchy. One says, “Ew no. My cat has been an outdoor cat for years and she would rather die happy and free than cooped up. She told me so.” That’s some Patrick Henry levels of being given liberty or death. 

This same cat gets this description, “But the birds eat all the cherries from my trees before I can get even one so I have a vendetta.”

The commenter is then accused of caring more about having cherries for herself than the lives of songbirds. What if you woke up in the morning with no more songbirds? Imagine eating red, ripe cherries while surrounded by nothing but an unnerving silence. This is how the world will be if you continue to let your elderly, one-eyed cat out into the world.

The plot thickens, though. We learn that nature is a complex system of predation and prey, complicated by the introduction of invasive species. 

Here we have a response that I found especially informative: “If all cats were brought indoors, there would be a boom in rodent populations which would in turn be even more devastating to songbirds. It’s way more complex than indoor-only cat advocates would have us believe since cats have been part of the ecosystem here in the US for hundreds of years now.” 

Some people found a creative solution: walk your cat on a leash. 

Finally, someone outs the anonymous group member by sharing this photo of the original poster. 

“Don’t let cats out, and please refill the bird feeder with organic sunflower seeds, already hulled and lightly salted. thnx”

An anonymous group member posted this rant: “As a 15 year old I enjoy seeing all the angry adults just rage off on here 🙂

You guys, we have to stop arguing in front of the kids. We’re supposed to set a good example. We need to stop doing things like calling people toxic because they own cats.

We share our hard-earned wisdom with this youth, such as, “When you have responsibilities of your own, you’ll understand how the bullshit of one adult has influence on another,” and, “As a 15 year old you shouldn’t be on Facebook. You should enjoy life before you get addicted to this stuff.”

My only bit of advice to this child is not to make the most bad-faith interpretation of someone’s post or comment. Wait, I have an even better piece of advice: Don’t read the comments at all. Instead, go spend some time outside in the beautiful, fragile ecosystem, walking your cat on a leash. 

Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

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