My current assignment has me taking care of two very different cats. Miss Minnie is a small, skittish, tabby cat and Sylvester is a tuxedo cat who thinks the tuxedo markings make him the cat version of James Bond complete with the license to kill.
Minnie makes an appearance at least once a day to be brushed. She occasionally ventures through the cat door to the pool enclosure and sits under my chair when I’m poolside reading. Mostly, she sleeps under the bed in either the master bedroom or the guest room. I will see a flash of tabby as she runs from one locale to the other.
Sylvester can be quite the charmer and never tires of being stroked and nuzzled. He often sits on the couch with me when I’m reading or watching television and spends most of the night in the bed with me.
Sylvester is allowed to roam outside and I let him out in the morning when I go out to feed the horse, donkey and llama. He stays out while I take my morning hike on the hilly roads. By the time I get back from my hike he is ready to head inside.
As anyone who has ever owned a cat or been owned by a cat can tell you, a few thousand years of domestication have not quelled the predator’s heart that beats in every house cat. I have seen Sylvester go from enjoying a sunny morning rolling on his back in the driveway to super stalker of birds, squirrels and butterflies in the blink of an eye when a flash of movement catches his eye. A couple of days ago, he started bringing me presents.
I noticed the dead blue jay by the screen door when I went to feed the animals and get the goats into the barn a couple of nights ago. I’m sure it didn’t die of natural causes although I suppose being killed by a cat could be considered natural causes.
The next night I was on my computer. It was getting late and I was just about finished when Sylvester came through the cat door and deposited a rather large cricket at my feet. The cricket was still alive, though stunned and moving very slowly. I debated briefly with my inner Buddhist on whether I should finish off the cricket or try to release it back into the wild. My inner Buddhist doesn’t often win these debates when the fate of insects hangs in the balance, so I smashed the cricket with my shoe.
I had just finished placing what remained of the cricket corpse in the garbage can and I heard Sylvester coming through the cat door. I could see something in his mouth.
“What do you have in your mouth?” and in reply, he placed a small frog at my feet. I didn’t want to smash the frog because that would mean blood and a much higher yuck factor than the smashed cricket.
The frog was much quicker to recover from the shock of being in the jaws of death and took off with Sylvester giving chase and with me chasing the cat. The frog made it to safety under the television. Sylvester headed back outside through the cat door and I followed him. Not through the cat door, I used the human door.
“You better not bring anymore critters in here.” Sylvester just looked at me. What I was thinking was you better not bring any critters into the bed while I’m sleeping. I think even my inner Buddhist would approve of killing the cat if that happened.
Despite a couple of frog sightings followed by Sylvester and me both giving chase, the frog remains at large in the house. He was last seen heading under the fridge.