Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday's Words for October 6, 2010

I know that it’s called survival of the fittest; I know that it is a part of nature. That doesn’t mean I want to bear witness to it.

Sometime in the wee hours of Friday morning, my cat brought forth unto my house a live and uninjured Chipmunk.

I suppose it’s not Boots’ fault. He is a cat, and although he did not hunt for the first 11 of his 14 years he is a feline and felines hunt. Specifically, felines hunt rodents. In the case of Boots, I suppose one could say he was shamed into this new behaviour by the Interloper kitty, Crash.

As you may recall, when Crash became a member of our family a couple of years ago and brought with him his human (my daughter) and his boy-slave (my grandson), the first thing he did to “endear” himself to us all was to catch a mole and lay that poor dead creature at my feet—an act that was then praised by his boy-slave, and rewarded by his human.

This systematic slaughter continued, with new freshly ‘dispatched’ sacrifices appearing in my office with alarming regularity.

Boots stood by watching this feral and uncivilized behaviour being rewarded and decided that he would show Crash he could participate, but being a feline of high moral fibre, chose not to. [Okay, I admit that was my interpretation of why he’d never hunted before.] Anyway, Boots made his point all those months ago by catching not a mole, or a mouse, or even a rat, but a chipmunk. He caught it and brought it in the house and then let it go…at which point Chippy ran into the bathroom and I was right there so I slammed the door behind him. We then were able to affect the poor little rodent’s rescue. I had no doubts at the time that immediately upon his release, this particular Chippy left the neighbourhood for more friendly environs.

In the history of domesticated pets, cats are unique. Humans domesticated the canine and every other animal they’ve taken as pets, except cats. Felines domesticated themselves. Being creatures who don’t like to exert themselves any more than absolutely necessary, and also being very smart, they made an observation several hundreds of years ago. They observed that humans were neither very bright, nor very clean, for they lived with their animals under their rooves and what the felines could only consider to be a really large cache of fresh cat food, aka mice and rats. Cats moved in and tolerated human coddling, in return for which they had a steady supply of food…and so it goes to this very day.

Now, the first I learned of the capture of this latest chipmunk was from my grandchildren. With fifteen minutes to go before they must leave for school, they watch television each morning. From their positions on the sofa they can see into my bedroom, and Friday morning they saw the chipmunk.

I opened my bedroom window wide, closed my bedroom door, and asked the Lord to show Chippy the way to freedom. Hey, it worked a few months ago when I had a bird in the house!

Unfortunately, this latest Chippy proved to be a recalcitrant little rodent, for instead of escaping out the easy to reach (for a Chippy) widow, the little guy made his way into the living room and under the sofa, where he soon drew the attention of two cats and one dog.

He wisely stayed under the sofa, a place where no cat or dog may venture. And I hoped, beyond hope, that he would be clever enough to wait until the predator-animals lost interest and went outside.

Well, I had to run a couple of errands, so I don’t know what happened next, exactly. When I returned home, it was to see no cats in the house. Out in the back yard, however, they cats stood vigilant facing the back corner where some rocks are stacked (artfully, Mr. Ashbury assures me) to resemble a waterfall. I know Chippy was in amongst those rocks, as I did see the tip of a tail that quickly was pulled out of sight. The crevasses are large enough for a Chippy, but too big for a cat. That was the last I saw of the little guy, and with no evidence to the contrary I rejoice in his escape from what would have been certain doom.

I’ve heard it said, and believe it to be true, that all dogs go to heaven. I’d like to believe that all Chippys and Bunnies go there, too.

I’m not altogether certain, however, where the cats end up.


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