I love cats, but I have no delusions about their usefulness or their ability to love human beings. I understand that those of us who have cats are simply tolerated by our feline companions, and that cats are really aliens plotting the demise of humankind. I’m cool with that, as long as I get a purry snuggle now and then. I’m easy that way.
However, cats are efficacious in one way – hunting. Even the seemingly laziest, most feckless of all felines can come through where there is something flying around, or otherwise moving in their field of vision.
We have three cats, and since they all stay indoors, only one is generally the designated huntress. She plays a wicked game with all manner of bugs, sort of similar to a child picking wings off a fly. She damages the creature enough so it can no longer move easily, and then bats it around, taking care to make sure it stays alive. Usually, once she is done playing one of the other cats comes along and eats the prey, effectively putting it out of its drawn out misery. Of course, this all comes in handy when we end up with the odd roach, mosquito or fly that makes its way into the apartment (although the streak of blood across the wall where Phoebe smacked a mosquito is not so pretty).
I never appreciated cat skills more than when we lived on
When my husband first got word that he would be stationed at a small camp on the
The island setting was nice enough. Crystalline blue waters wherever your eye could see. There were fantastic views of other islands - even the coast of
The house had a nice, large patio area, and sort of sat on the edge of the mountain, surrounded by nature. Now, there were several houses around us, and we were walking distance to the town square, but in a village like Pyli, that still means you are in the sticks. I’ve lived in the sticks before, but American sticks – ie. suburbs, and suburbs that were well built up by the time I left (not to mention we lived in a condominium complex there, so it might as well have been the city). So I never really lived in any true country-like settings, no farm life in my background.
I always slept in after my husband left for work (typical lazy housewife). But this particular morning, my cats were determined not to let me sleep, and one of my cats kept insisting on lying beside me on the bed – not the open part of the bed, but she’d push on the edge until I moved over enough so she was lying between me and the edge of the bed. She’d do that, then get down after a few minutes and try to get me up with her wailing, then come back and assume the position. Finally I decided I’d had enough of weird cat behavior for the morning and got up and made my way to the bathroom. On the way, however, I spotted something dark out of the corner of my eye. I turned and looked down, and be damned if there wasn’t a small black snake on the floor.
In real danger of hyperventilating, I decided to go on to the bathroom and figure out what to do with the snake after splashing my face with LOTS of cold water. After taking a deep breath, I felt I was ready to deal with the evil serpent. Yet, when I went back out, the snake was NO LONGER THERE. Panic. Then - how in the hell am I going to stay here knowing there is a snake loose in the house?
At that point I noticed that our three cats were gathered by the couch, obviously enthralled by something. Please let it be the snake. Of course it was the snake! The cats had that summabitch surrounded, and each one was pawing at it in turn. The snake, stricken, was playing dead. That was the only thing it could do. The only thing I wanted to do was get that damn snake out of my house. And so I did the only thing I could do in order to get it out – I opened the front door (thankfully very close to the couch) and kicked the snake towards it. I kept kicking that snake until I had kicked it out the door and across the patio.
I went back in the house, slammed the door shut, and collapsed against the door. The cats kept looking at me as if I had taken away their most prized possession. Then I started to feel a bit guilty, and a bit stupid. Kicking a snake – what might have been a young viper, in fact – is not the smartest thing a person can do. Not to mention the snake was obviously already a bit overwhelmed by the cats, I could have probably gotten it out of the house easily with a broom handle or something without kicking it.
I looked outside to see if it had moved from the spot where I left it, and it was gone. It probably got the hell out of dodge as soon as I left its field of vision. This incident occurred relatively early in our year on