Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cat and Counterfeit Mouse Games

I bought our cats a package of toy mice yesterday. Their little fabric eyes stared up at me through the plastic as I took them down from the store rack. I felt no guilt as I carried them through the checkout and homeward, towards a sort of doom. Everything has a purpose, I repeated to myself.

Molly, a gorgeous calico in the mid-years of her life, has been our cat since my wife and I first began a serious attempt at a relationship. She was a musical kitten then, her spots of black and ginger arranged so perfectly across her petite face. To this day she's remains overly vocal, but it seems the kittenhood has gradually faded from her over the years, for the most part unnoticeably.

She's a loving creature with a jolly disposition, and she's so very energetic. Though, of all the cats I've ever met Molly is the best at maintaining the duplicitous personality of a sweet pal and expert killer. She's taken bats out of mid-air with a single eight foot leap. She's mouse hunted with such skill that her ancestors would surely swell with pride.

So, it's no surprise that she enjoys the "Hunt" which occurs as soon as one of the store-bought pseudo-mice hits the floor. Her approach is comical, a few sidelong steps and then she plunges a claw past the mouse, spinning it. Then the dance begins as she, to best describe it, goes into a series of seemingly ritualistic movements in which there is much spinning and flopping and rolling and leg waving. Her body rises up on its hind legs, her green eyes fiery as they lock on the ersatz rodent, and then falls heavily upon her prey, renewing the sequence of the dance soon after.

No matter how many years pass, Molly is still as vibrant and lively as she ever was. I've not always been a cat person, but when it comes to Molly I find that I can't help but be invested. She's become such a big part of my life that I sometimes find myself worrying about the day when I'll notice her missed steps and her apparent loss of youthful passion. The knowledge that some day she'll be unable to play as wildly as she has digs at me. One day Molly will no longer be. Fact. But instead I should focus on the present. I should delight in watching her enjoy her toy. I'll take advantage of her presence in the now and cherish it. For now I'll watch Molly be.

To the mice I can express little sympathy, renewing the chant of my mantra. They're one with the universe now. Their fake fur, fabric bits, and copious stuffing may litter our floor, but they're in a place where Molly's instinctual four-step can no longer molest them. My thanks to them for their service.

Molly, proud and triumphant

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