Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All Cats Are Hunters

All cats are hunters.

People with ‘outdoor’ cats inevitably receive offerings – dead mice or birds or other small dead things – as tokens of both the cats’ prowess and esteem.

'Indoor' cats can get pretty bored. Feline boredom is not good. It’s not good for cats or furniture or for other cats who may share an abode.

I have two indoor cats, both rescued strays purchased from the local Humane Society. Recognizing their hunting instincts, I have literally littered my home with cat toys. And I try to play with the cats for at least a few minutes every day. 

But it's not enough. I tend to get busy, working on the computer, being – in my cats’ eyes – pretty boring.

Therefore it's a really big deal whenever a small flying insect, such as a moth, invades the house. Immediately, my cats’ lives perk up. Their every nerve and muscle focuses on the fluttering prey. Darting impossibly fast, in and out of impossible places, the cats pursue their victims. 

Moths traditionally head for light sources – daytime windows or nighttime lamps – with the cats hurtling after. I monitor chases as closely as I can – trying to protect any fragile objects that may get in the way.

At times the drama can last several minutes, involving action on both the first and second floors. Other times, it’s over quickly. But the ending is always the same. 

Inevitably, sooner or later, the moth, pawed and dazed, falls and is eaten. The mighty hunter is triumphant. And, inevitably, sooner or later, the mighty hunter throws up.

How ephemeral the pleasures; how enduring the messes.

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