The most horrible thing just happened! But let me start at the beginning—I have this great pair of humans (at least I thought they were great) who spend a lot of time playing with me and training me how to be a great hunter. They always get these poles with cool feathery things hanging off them. I got really good at catching the feathery things and even managed to rip them off the pole a bunch of times. My humans didn’t even care when I did that—they just went out and got me new toys. Since I got so good at hunting, I thought I’d show off how much I learned so I snuck out of the house one afternoon and came back with a yummy bird treat. And it wasn’t some little bird, either—it was one of those big, noisy blue-feathered birds! So I came up to my humans’ back door, all happy and proud with the bird in my mouth and you know what they did? They screamed at me! They told me I was a “bad cat” and a bunch of other things I don’t want to repeat. What’s more, they didn’t even eat the bird—I think they threw it away or something. I thought they would be overjoyed that I put all this training to good use. What happened?
Totally Freaked Out
Dear Freaked Out,
Even if your humans didn’t appreciate your catch, I do want to say that I’m impressed! If I’d been there, I would have gratefully shared your bird with you. Good job!
I’m afraid you’ve discovered one of the downsides of living with humans—most of them don’t understand that we are natural-born hunters. When they wave those dangly, feathered toys in front of us, they think it’s cute when we catch it. In reality, we’re just doing what cats do—reveling in the thrill of the hunt. Ironically, they’ll play with us for hours on end with these poles (at least, if we’re lucky, they’ll play with us for hours), and then they have a fit when we catch real, live prey. They just don’t get that the live prey is even better than the toy! It’s really a weird, human quirk and you are not the first cat to be mystified by it. We’re all mystified by it. When it comes to hunting, the majority of humans might as well be from a different planet than us cats. In fact, I’m pretty certain they are. (I just hope they’re not from the Dog Star!) Do you want to hear something totally frustrating? Way back in history we were originally prized for our ability to catch mice. Some cats who live in barns out in the country are still prized for this talent. Most modern humans, however, are like yours—I wouldn’t be surprised if you lived with a pair of vegans. Ugh. How misguided. If they savored a rat or two, they’d ditch those vegetables in a second!
I know you’ve been traumatized by the way your humans overreacted to your awesome catch, but it was bound to happen. I’m sorry you had to be subjected to such a hard lesson. So now you know that if you get the opportunity once again to hunt real, live prey to keep it to yourself. It’s kind of lonely to not be able to share your prizes with your human companions, but that’s just one of the harsh realities of life. Just recognize that it’s not because they don’t love and appreciate you—they’re merely clueless and misguided. Don’t let it spoil your love of the hunt. Guilt never did anyone any good. Hunt with all the passion you were born with, and don’t let any humans tell you any different!