April 8, 2013
Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat.
Robert A. Heinlein
A most curious and fascinating event took place at the home of Sheba, Queen of, this week. It was a study of communications and protocol played out between the indoor cats, the outdoor tomcats, and the humans of the household.
It began with the kitten, Arwen the Elf Princess, catching her first mouse. About 1am, Mama woke to sounds from the kitchen. Walking downstairs, she found in the gloom of the kitchen Arwen had a mouse she was playing with. Goodness! No catnip-filled cloth mousie was this, but a real, live–well, dead–mouse. Fine huntress had killed her first mouse! Indeed, it was the first mouse killed by any catly resident of the house.
Speaking as calmly as possible, Mama got gloves on and while praising Arwen, managed to get the little mouse away from her. Hurrying to the back door, Mama thought to toss the sad, dead mouse into the bushes, but the outdoor tomcats, Aubrey and Midnight, were right there. So, Mama tossed the mouse, a little thing, just a short distance away, thinking the boys might enjoy a fresh-caught morsel to eat.
Ah, not so! Little dead mouse, killed by indoor Arwen kitten, was destined to become the centerpiece for a drama of communication to be played out by young tomcat, Aubrey.
In the morning, when Mama looked out the window, little mouse lay where he had landed, apparently untouched by the tomcats. But, placed nearby lay a dead squirrel, much larger than the mouse. Aubrey, being very well fed, rarely hunts, yet he had purposely caught a squirrel.
After a time, the squirrel was moved nearer the house. It was clear the squirrel was not being presented as a “gift”, as it was not placed in the traditional gift spot on the doormat. Something else was being said with Mr. Squirrel.
When no one came out or responded to the statement being made with the squirrel, Aubrey took the squirrel, and placed it directly on top of Arwen’s mouse. Aubrey then ate the squirrel… well, he ate the top half.
After some more time, the rest of the squirrel vanished and was, apparently, eaten. Arwen’s mouse remained exactly where it had landed on the bare–save for a trace of squirrel icky–pavement.
Cautiously, Mama ventured to the door. Dead mousie still needed to be tossed into the woods, yet Mama did not wish to be involved with whatever Aubrey was saying with the squirrel, especially the icky parts.
The catly communications and protocol of prey was not yet completed, however. There, on the doormat, was left a final statement in the drama: On the doormat lay only the squirrel’s tail.
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