Friday, April 14, 2006

That Damned Cat

We have a cat, but I wish we didn't. We'll probably get another cat after this one is gone, but I wish we wouldn't.

I got up a while ago - middle of the night - to get a drink of water. Along the way, I spotted the cat out in the back yard, headed for the dog door with something in its mouth. We live in the desert, so it's not unheard of for the cat to bring home its trophies. It grosses out the rest of the family to find the half-eaten remains of a mouse, lizard or some other creature in the house, but still they like the idea of cat ownership.

This time I got to the back door before the cat could come in. I opened the door and intercepted the cat, grabbed it by the neck and made it release what turned out to be a mouse. I should have expected the mouse to be alive, pending a torturous death by cat, but I didn't. When the cat let go and the mouse realized it was free, off it darted. Trouble is, I think it darted past me into the house. I looked around but, of course, didn't see it anywhere.

In the meantime, the cat sniffed around a bit after its lost prey, then wandered back out into the back yard.

A few minutes ago came the muffled but triumphant wail of the damned cat announcing that it was back inside with something else to show for its efforts. Sure enough, there was the cat, sitting under the dining room table with something again clamped in its jaws.

Years ago, my Mother and Grandmother were fortunate enough to be neighbors in a subdividion in the jurisdiction of San Andres Semetabaj, overlooking Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. This was one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I've ever experienced. One of the major delights of being there came from the wide variety and abundance of birds. This situation changed when they got a new neighbor, a sensitive artist who felt a need for the company of the 14 cats he brought with him. Whether the cats killed or drove off the birds is immaterial; they had a dramatic impact, one to which this sensitive artist was oblivious. I seem to recall that when spoken to about the impact of the cats, this artist's sensitivity was shown to be limited.

Cats are killers. Domestic cats are useless killers. Were it up to me, we would not have a cat. If allowed, I would lay traps for cats on my property, and any that landed there would go straight to the pound. I am glad that we have coyotes in the area, and to the extent that they take domestic cats, Great.

I am part of my own problem with cats. I detest cat litter boxes, and the condition I insisted upon in agreeing to cat ownership was that it be an outdoor cat, and if it got run over or eaten, so be it. Our cat uses the dog door at will, and as a result does to local wildlife what cats do to local wildlife: kill it at every opportunity.

This is one of those areas where one goes along to get along, but I don't like cat ownership. As far as I'm concerned the bad outweighs the good. Or maybe I'm still mad at my sister's cat for killing the hummingbird I raised when I was a kid, feeding it with a medicine dropper. I could take this hummingbird outside to fly and it would return to me, which was an amazing experience.

I did my best to kill my sister's cat in the immediate aftermath of the hummingbird's death. Luckily for me, I missed.


No comments: