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Cat Among The Pigeons. Wednesday August 6, 2014

I feed and house two cats. Like all cat lovers, I will never admit to owning them. In moments of inebriated honesty, I might admit that they own me.

They are litter-mates, both neutered male black and white domestic shorthairs (read moggies), but there any resemblance between them ends. Firstly there is the cat known as LMKM (Lean, Mean, Killing Machine) who considers his day incomplete if he has not contributed to the household meat ration in some significant way. Then there is CP (Couch Potato – also known as the Thief of Dad's Bag for reasons which will become obvious), who is so ultimately laid back that my daughter carries him around like a handbag, dresses him in dolls clothes, gives him slides down the climbing frame and (their latest trick) wears him as Batman's cape on her back as she rushes around Gotham City righting wrongs and fighting off animal rights protesters! (My sympathies are with the protesters, but I remind myself that CP does have claws and he could use them if he really wanted to).

They are both affectionate creatures, but whereas CP may be hugged and cuddled, LMKM tends to inflict his affection upon his chosen recipient. The 'victim' finds themselves abruptly invaded by five and a half kilos of determined feline, subjected to involuntary and painful acupuncture as all their most tender places are enthusiastically kneaded, and nearly deafened as the Lancaster Bomber engine resident in his chest is revved up to full throttle!

A couple of evenings ago my peaceful evening (good book, glass of wine) was rudely interrupted by my husband who stalked into the library (OK – the dining room where the bookshelves are – but it sounds good, doesn't it) declaiming "Your blasted cat has got a pigeon in the kitchen!" He resisted the urge to say "again!" for which I was grateful.

As a second body was just about to be discovered by the feisty heroine I refused to be discomposed. "Leave him: I'll deal with it later." I muttered, returning to my story as a steady drip of blood fell upon the narrator's ears and a tremor of trepidation shivered her skin.A couple of spine-chilling chapters later I reluctantly opened my kitchen door to deal with the expected carnage.

Unsurprisingly, the floor was more covered in feathers than a Mallory Towers dorm after a girls' pillow fight and the mighty hunter was crouched over his kill, growling ferociously and watched, with interest and anticipation, by CP.

I removed the pigeon (and not co-incidentally the cats) to the garden, swept up the feathers and retired to bed. Peering out of the window a little later I was entirely unsurprised to see LMKM again prowling his hunting grounds, while the best part of the pigeon was being consumed with gusto by CP.

That's always the story. LMKM catches the prey, eats his favourite bits and the rest is stolen by his brother.

Does CP beat himself up over his woeful inadequacies as a hunter? Does he suffer self-doubts, crises of confidence and bouts of depression? He never seems to: he just gets on with being a cat and eats the pigeon (and anything else he can find to steal). I wish I could take a lesson from him.

Although I've never been that partial to raw pigeon.

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Wed, Aug 6th 2014 @ 6:15am

Beautifully told, Mary. And I do know what you mean about cats accepting themselves as they are, since we have two here. A powerful metaphor. As I feel myself slipping into low mood this time of year ( inevitable? Who knows..) I clutch at all wisdom to drag me back.

G Wed, Aug 6th 2014 @ 6:35am

I truly enjoy your writing, let us know if you have any books published! :D

Anonymous Wed, Aug 6th 2014 @ 8:14am

I really enjoyed your writing, we had three recused cats, one was sent to the cats home because he caught pigeons. One particular day he had one on the lawn, no one was allowed near, after sometime he tired of it, I thought I would have to go out and bury poor thing, my neighbour came and looked, only to find it was still alive, I was so please I'd not buried it!!! The black/white devil was called Ben, our neighbours loved him, he could do not wrong in their eyes, they would put a deckchair out everyday for Ben to sit on. Our other cat Podgy (named by rescue centre) followed Ben everywhere, he had a route everyday around the estate, and hated Podge following him. When Ben died of a sudden heart attack (was outside another neighbours house (with Podge) sniffing the chicken she was cooking and waiting for a titbit) she said he suddenly keeled over. Lots of people (whom I didn't know) inquired where had Ben gone as he visited them everyday, he certainly put himself about. Oh! I wish I could put myself about like Ben but "us" depressed people don't, I spend too much time questioning myself what would people think of me etc. it stems from my mother don't do this, that, what would the neighbours say. I like to think Ben is in heaven still walking around with Podge in tow.

Anonymous Wed, Aug 6th 2014 @ 10:42am

Mary you are a terrific writer - do you (have you thought of?) do this for a living?? Very entertaining - thank you.

Anonymous Wed, Aug 6th 2014 @ 11:39am

Yes, and the analogy can be extended. Does the pigeon beat himself up over the place of Columbidae in the food chain? Does he suffer self-doubts, crises of confidence and bouts of depression about his possible future membership of the 73 million items of Brithish wildlife killed by domestic cats each year? He never seems to worry that his cousins the Passsenger pigeons, once numbering billions, are now extinct; he just gets on with being a pigeon and eats seeds (and fruit and vegetable matter, and the odd insect if he can). He doesn't care that he and his children will be swept up and popped in the outside bin if they ever get despatched on the kitchen floor. He may express some anxiety during the final taking of his life, however long that takes, but the unfamiliar smell of KiteKat on his executioner's breath hopefully provides a slight diversion. I wish I could take a lesson from him.

Rob Richards Wed, Aug 6th 2014 @ 1:59pm

I'd enjoyed reading this content Mary, do you have any other writings similar to this? Please let me know so I can get to read another one from you. Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous Wed, Aug 6th 2014 @ 2:55pm

Wouldnt it be great if we could put a tiny video camera on our traveling hunting cats? I have always wondered where and how far they go.

lexi Wed, Aug 6th 2014 @ 4:19pm

Mary, I absolutely love your writing. I keep thinking that one day we'll find out that you're a famous author using a pseudonym. If not, you should be a famous author. Your writing both inspires and cheers.

Kate Wed, Aug 6th 2014 @ 7:55pm

Great story. The retired vet in me is simply compelled to meddle, so please forgive me. If the wearing of the cat involves using the legs as handles, the cat could be injured, especially over time, even if he does not protest. Also, pigeons can harbor some nasty microbes. Now I had a cat who caught and ate so many pigeons that they quit roosting on our house--word got around--and he never had a sick day in his life. However, if either of your cats becomes vaguely or non-specifically ill, I suggest you mention to your vet that they have a preference for undercooked squab. Again, fine story.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Thu, Aug 7th 2014 @ 12:40pm

Thank you Kate. I will indeed keep an eye on CP's legs (I am still trying to slim him down to a healthy 4.5 kilos from his portly 5.3kg. ) and so far LMKM seems to be very similar to your robust cat. Surely it is not a co-incidence that he has very healthy teeth and gums whereas CP may need dental work In his future (in spite of Iams).

Mary Blackhurst Hill Thu, Aug 7th 2014 @ 12:42pm

Oh I adore your dark humour!

Jenny Thu, Aug 7th 2014 @ 5:42pm

I smiled in rueful recognition of your situation, Mary! Our two cats are not related, but the killer/couch potato scenario is sooo familiar! Also, really enjoyed your writing style!

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