I was going to write an entirely different post, complete with photos of yummy yummy actors. But no sooner had I entered the title for the post than I heard something which dragged me away from the computer to be a Responsible Adult and Pet Owner.
If you live with cats long enough, you learn to recognize their meows: The “hello,” the “I need water!” the “I see a bird outside the window,” the “FEED ME FEED ME.” Recently I’ve learned another: The “I am a Fierce Jungle Kitty, come marvel at my hunting prowess.”
…We apparently have a family of mice living somewhere in our house. And Rosie has decided that at roughly 11 PM each night she will catch one, kill it, and then carry it around the landing between the first and second floors. Of course, being a cat, she has to carry her prize in her mouth, but she manages to somehow emit the rumbling “I am Fierce Jungle Kitty etc.” meow around it.
It took a few minutes of chasing her around the upstairs to convince Rosie to drop the mouse (I think “Look at me, aren’t you proud!” finally won out over “No, my mousey, you can’t have it, go kill your own!”), whereupon I seized her around the middle and hauled her downstairs so that Mom could hold her while I dealt with the pitiful little corpse in the upstairs hall.
Part of getting older is learning to deal with things which humans instinctively find yucky. I think this mostly happens as a result of becoming The Responsible One instead of The One For Whom Responsibility Must Be Taken. My mother swears that once you’ve had babies, pretty much nothing bothers you (except bats, apparently; she’s still terrified of those). Since I have yet to reach that particular stage in life, my yuck-coping abilities are limited to cat vomit, litter boxes, bugs no longer than 1 inch in any dimension, and small amounts of blood.
And now, small mammalian corpses. Actually disposing of the mouse wasn’t as bad as it could have been; I covered it with a paper towel so I didn’t have to look at it, because yes, I am that much of a wimp. Honestly I think the worst was seeing the poor thing dangling in Rosie’s jaws, its limbs flopping as she walked, giving me some small amount of hope that it was still alive.
I’m not mad at Rosie. She’s a cat; her instincts are to hunt. I can no more be mad at her for catching and killing a mouse than I could be at her for purring. If she were a cat in the wild I don’t think I would be sad at all, and actually it’s a little reassuring to know that her cushy domesticated life as a house cat hasn’t completely de-felinized her. (side note: There should totally be a word which is the feline equivalent of emasculate.) But I do feel bad that the mouse is dead, because Rosie wasn’t going to eat it, nor were the humans to whom she so proudly gave it. It feels sort of like the mouse died for nothing.
I feel kind of silly saying that. I’m an omnivore, and I’m well aware that cats are carnivores. I don’t have any serious moral problems with killing animals for food; that’s the way nature works. But killing animals for sport, for fun, for their fur–these things I do have a problem with. Humans should be more respectful of their fellow creatures. But there again–Rosie isn’t human, and she doesn’t have the same awareness (and because of that, I would argue, responsibility) that we do.
So I am proud of my Fierce Jungle Kitty. But I’m a little sad on behalf of the mouse, all the same.
…eh, why not. Between job applications and corpse disposal, I need pretty pretty manflesh. Have some Niall Matter; it’ll cure what ails ya.