Sunday, August 11, 2013
The Mighty Hunter
I step into the guest room in my house to find my cat Don’t Bite Me in a crouch. He’s fat, lazy, and not terribly bright, so for him to be in an action pose like this, there must be something big brewing. His pupils are dilated, his tail is twitching, and he’s making that odd chatter that excited cats get. I follow his stare into the darkness under the bed.
Don't Bite Me in a much more typical pose
My mind runs through a list of possibilities as to what my cat’s quarry may be. Looking more closely, I can’t see anything at all. Is it a mouse? I hadn't seen any signs of one. Maybe one of those sassy red squirrels that are always chittering at me from the tree when I step onto the back deck had made its way into the house. That would be a disaster. He'd better catch it if it's one of those. Many years ago I found a dead rat in the attic. Could it be one of those? Yick, I certainly hope not! A bat is another possibility. Whatever is under there, I sure as heck want Don’t Bite Me to catch it, so I just stay stock still and watch.
As the seconds pass, it suddenly strikes me as odd that one of my other cats, whom I call Stop It is in the same room, but paying no attention at all to what is going on. He’s actually on the bed in question, yawning widely at me, barely awake. Of my three felines, Stop It is the only one who has ever shown any instincts even remotely like those of a predator, so his lack of interest here is peculiar. His sister, Get Down saunters into the room from behind me, not even turning her sleek black head in the direction of Don’t Bite Me’s interest.
Don’t Bite Me’s rear end starts to wiggle slightly as he gets more and more wound up to pounce. At this point, I am beginning to question his sanity. Maybe he is hallucinating. I don’t see a blessed thing. His teeth chatter some more, he backs up on his haunches. The mighty hunter is going in for the kill of something. Claws out, he leaps forward with amazing speed for a cat who has the physique of a Dodge Dart.
It’s a small housefly.
And he misses it. By a mile.
He’s totally mystified, I'm thoroughly disappointed, and the other two cats, if they could, would have been laughing their furry heads off.