You might as well license the rats. It’ll be about as effective as a proposal to curb the city’s cat population by forcing owners to register their kitties with the city.

Buffalo Common Council Member Darius Pridgen wanted to get people talking about the flurry of felines in some city neighborhoods, so he pitched a proposal to require pet owners to document their cats.

Puss, it turns out, is doing more than just roaming the neighborhood. He’s digging up gardens and treating flower boxes like litter boxes.

Never mind that experts say the solution to stray cats isn’t another city license – it’s diligence in ensuring they’re spayed and neutered. Or how about, if your neighbors are harboring strays, a simple conversation might alert them to the problems they’re causing.

This, after all, is urban living, where closeness to your neighbors also means dealing with their pets, their noise and their quirks.

But, let’s face it: Cats aren’t the only irritation in the City of Buffalo.

• There are also the dogs. Or really, the inconsiderate dog owner who feels no need to bring along a plastic baggie on a walk around the block, despite normal social conventions that suggest you just don’t leave that behind. Do you really think we don’t notice when you let your dog walk behind you, unleashed, while you willfully ignore the fact that the dog is leaving a present for someone else to step in?

• And the red lights. Oh, the red lights. The city has done work to synchronize some signals, but it can still take a maddening 20 minutes to travel 4 miles across town. Which leaves plenty of time to contemplate exactly why it’s so hard to get them in sync.

• Speaking of road rage, why must people drive 20 mph on Elmwood?

• Don’t forget about alternate side parking. Just when you’ve thought you’ve gotten it down, a holiday comes along. Thought they weren’t enforcing the rules as they’ve done in the past? Happy New Year! Here’s your ticket.

• The summer vacation brought plenty of confusion for city parents. Summer school for elementary kids was canceled, and children were sent home instead with packets of homework to keep them busy. School Board members were disappointed last week when the entirely predictable happened – just 1,938 out of 18,000 students turned them in. Perhaps the cats ate them.

• Some things in the city are just like in the suburbs. Panera Bread wants to replace Blockbuster on Elmwood Avenue, and some neighbors are up in arms. I’d love to see a local business that isn’t a direct competitor to the coffee shop two doors down, but the owners of the building have something different in mind. Is it really so bad to swap out one national chain for another? Better than an empty building.

• While you’re parking, make sure to lock down everything in sight. Nothing is off limits for the lowlifers who will snatch things from your car, whether it’s spare change, a spare tire or the kayak rack off your roof. Is there really a black market for that?

• OK, there may be one thing that even thieves don’t want. Old TVs. There seems to be one on every block.

• And really, why would anyone steal a garbage tote?

Like any city, there are trade-offs for living in Buffalo. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cats and all.

I could just do without the rats.


Let’s face it: Cats aren’t the only irritation in the City of Buffalo.