Matt Dorey

A bird is sitting on the grass with a kite

Where Is Your Cat Finding All Those Birds?

Owners of cats will know that their pets love to bring home a tribute. Usually a bloody sparrow poised on the cusp of life, with the joy of the kill deferred to its grateful recipient. Other times expensive koi carp fished out of suburban ponds. Sometimes impossibly large spiders caught weaving their own ironic cat’s cradles between their captor’s outstretched paws, just so.

Oh the joy of it. But don’t think for a second that your cat doesn’t earn their keep, even as it lies there in that shaft of sun – belly puffed out, purring away – in a moment they’ll slip away again unseen (unless they have to mew and bat the door again) for the adventures that you will never know.

I mention this about cats for two reasons. The first is that at ground level, the part you don’t get down to see, your gardens and streets are really interesting places. They are full of dominions and territories, quirks and oddities – you don’t even have to be a cat to see it. What would you hunt in these places? Where would you go if you could compact yourself to a cat strutting impossibly along the thin fences that make up the borders of these micro-kingdoms? Or if you were a bird chattering high up in the trees above?

And then I mention it because of persistence. Where is your cat finding all these near-dead birds? These koi carp? These sinister spiders reduced to shitting silly string? These offerings? Take one moment to acknowledge the bounty crammed into your neighbourhood of gardens and quiet streets, and another to acknowledge the tenacity of your cat for staying out all day so they could bring it home to you.

One night there will be something on your mind. Nothing to do with cats at all, just something that will press down on you so hard that you will feel like all life is out of joint. It will be something so simple that you keep turning it over and over, or it will be something so fiendishly complicated that every attempt to explain it to yourself will collapse in on itself like some super massive black hole of explication. At that point then, think again about your cat and their eye level view of your neighbourhood. Try to see where the adventures are, where the treasure is – and with any luck, that thing pressing down will eventually lift.

Hero image is “Sneaking Cat” by Hans Pama. Found on Flickr, creative commons license. I cropped the image slightly and added a bit of a filter.

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