Last night one of the neighborhood cats came around and started meowing, so I opened the door to see if it was Adrien, because he's kind of our favorite right now. (There are two black males and one is Adrien and the other isn't, and the only way we can tell them apart is to see if he comes up for head-scritchies. Adrien will let us touch him, the other one won't.) It wasn't Adrien, but two more of our regular visitors came along in the hopes that I would feed them. I explained the situation to them and closed the door, but they still hung around and stared hopefully.
Well, Athena was having none of that, and she said management be darned, we're feeding these cats. She gave them less than usual, in the hopes that it would all be gone in the morning in case someone was snooping around.
We thought about it and realized that, since we're pretty sure there's nothing in our lease agreement against feeding strays, and because we have a friend who's already offered to let us move in with her (when there was talk of ward boundary changes, she wanted to make sure we stayed in the same ward), we figure the management doesn't have much of a leg to stand on if they wanted to penalize us, especially since we're reasonably good tenants who always pay our rent on time, so they'd probably lose a lot more money from our being gone than from whatever the stray cats do. Bolstered by these realizations, we went all Nick Fury in the Avengers and decided whatever, we'll just feed these cats.
(The other reason for this is that we've learned the best way to prevent an entire colony of cats from hanging around 24/7 is actually to leave out enough food that they can eat their fill and get on with their lives. If you only feed them a little, they'll camp out to make sure they don't miss their chance for more. Of course, if we stopped altogether, they'd eventually leave, but then we'd feel like jerks and we like to have them around, darnit! Also, we know all the females have been spayed, so the population explosion that stupid letter was so worried about is a nonissue.)
We were pretty secure in our reasoning and not worried anymore about the management...
Someone from the management came by to show a prospective tenant the apartment next door. In fact, we're pretty sure this vacant apartment is the reason they so impolitely asked us to stop feeding the strays; they don't want the stray cats de-classing up the joint.
That being the case, we would only have been mildly worried about the manager person glancing into our adjoined patio and seeing the full catfood dish, but one of our furry friends happened to be on the fence between the patios when the two of them come up. The funny thing is, if there had been no anti-cat scare, she probably would have been chilling out on a roof somewhere, but because of the abrupt change in feeding schedule, she apparently felt the need to do some thorough investigation. And so she was on the fence when someone from management brought a prospective tenant by to see the apartment.
We're still not super worried, because! not surprisingly, the prospective tenant did not look upset by the cat. In fact, she may have even been charmed by her. (We didn't have time to process facial expressions; we saw that someone was there and panicked. This is what happens when you're living outside the law. At any rate, from what I did see of this prospective tenant, her reaction seemed to be along the lines of, "Ooh, kitty!", as also evidenced by the cat's dashing away.)
Anyway. We won't be surprised if we get another letter about not feeding strays, which may or may not threaten to charge us a fine or something. But now that we're expecting it, we feel much better prepared to cope.
Today I'm thankful for all of our feline friends being accounted for (that's another reason I want to blow off that stupid letter; now that I know they haven't taken any other action, I feel like that letter was the absolute laziest way to deal with the problem, and if they're not going to put forth any effort, why should I care?), being ready for part two of Operation: Disneyland Office, having the Sailor Moon Musical Anza Collection 1, almost having time to watch the first one tonight (now we're up a little late), and the blast from the past of seeing that first Sailor Moon Musical.