A (feline) killer in our midst


One of my favorite things about cats is the disconnect between their sleepy, fluffy appearance…

…and the fact that they’re cold-blooded predators.

Our cat, who’s about nine years old, has distinguished herself as a fine hunter over the years. Her current project is to stake out an area along our bathroom wall, where I’ve heard some scratching sounds these last few days since it’s been so cold. No doubt a mouse has come inside to get warm. Meanwhile, those green eyes are watching just in case the rodent should be so foolish as to show a mere whisker through a crack or cranny in the baseboard.

This is fine by me, just as I don’t mind a bit when our friend dispatches moles in the garden. I’m neutral on the grasshoppers and crickets she swallows in summer, but I feel sort of sad when she gets butterflies. And I really can’t take it when she captures birds.

This she’s done about four or five times total; it must be a lot harder than catching rodents. On one famous occasion, she killed two birds at once (they were doing a low-to-the-ground mating dance at the time). I love birds and, more to the point, they seem to me like a more vulnerable part of the ecosystem than mice or grasshoppers. (Feel free to disagree with me, knowledgeable readers.)

I do try to rescue birds when I see them being menaced by our cat, but I don’t go so far as to keep her inside for their sake. I know some folks do, though. Anyone else wrestle with this dilemma? Have a good bird-rescue story? (The Wildlife Center of Virginia can be very helpful in these situations.)