The Cannibals Among Us

cheetah

I came to the realization today I’m surrounded by Stone Cold Killers.  I even sleep with them or, rather, they sleep with me.  At least some of them.

Their names?  Rambo, Tigger, and Sandy (aka Mamma Cat or Big Bad Mama — no offense to Angie Dickenson).

I’m talking about our damn cats, of course.  Our  geriatric, whining, skittish felines who, between the three of them, total 52 years on this earth and, sometimes in a sandbox, if we’re lucky.

But more on them in a moment.

Hunters and Hunted were all around me today.  It started early this morning when I went out for a coffee.  As I was pleasantly enjoying my solitude drink, a flashing movement across the street caught my attention.  There, on top of the gas station awning, perched a gigantic hawk with a feathery mass clutched in his talons.  While we frequently see crows ganging up on and chasing hawks here, rarely do we witness the aftermath of a kill.  It looked to me as if the world was short one less blackbird.

Chalk one up for the raptors.

This particular hawk didn’t seem to have the best grip on its now-expired prey, and I just waited for him to drop the whole mass on some unsuspecting customer below filling up his Mugglemobile.  Alas, just a few feathers slowly drifted down, and when I returned my gaze after being momentarily distracted, the hawk was gone, and it had taken breakfast with him.

I have to admit that watching the birds is more interesting than the cop who usually parks over at that station  and entertains himself by ticketing drivers rolling through the right turn red light right in front of him.  After all, it’s the ticketing part that’s best, and he typically pulls folks over several blocks away so I don’t get to see the Shock and Awe involved with the standard traffic stop.  Bummer.

A bit later after I returned home, I busied myself with washing my filthy, neglected, road-worn truck.  (Note to Daughter:  If you want to use the truck again, try becoming familiar with a vacuum cleaner — you can practice on the interior.  And don’t let it interfere with any eyebrow appointments you might be planning, thank you.)  As I was finishing up, I was summoned by my Spouse.

“Come quick!  The cats have caught a locust.”

“I’m still wiping down the truck.  I’ll be there in a minute.”

“But it’s huge.  I’ve never seen one this big.  It’s huge!”

Now you have to understand, two of our three cats have essentially laid waste to all the fauna that inhabits our pixie-sized SoCal yard.  Well, let me qualify that a bit.  Tigger and Rambo are able to (but not necessarily do) catch anything that moves slower than them (lizards and skinks), is not taller than them (lizards and skinks) since they can’t really jump anymore, or is dumber than them (some birds, apparently, lizards and skinks, and some insects).

Basically our two cats retired from the Plains of Africa years ago.  They may dream they’re cheetahs, but they move like hippos now.  They prefer being fed to hunting, but occasionally the mood strikes them (or an insect wanders in front of them), and the slow-speed chase is on.  Our third cat (Mama) prefers to hide, sleep, and randomly bite/scratch Daughter, when the opportunity presents itself — it’s entertaining, if nothing else.

Back to our story.

When I finally made it to the side of the house to gaze upon the locust leviathan, there was nothing left to see.

“What happened?  Where’s this locust?” I asked, not even marginally disappointed.  I’ve seen all this before.

“I think Tigger ate it,” my Spouse replied.

Keep in mind that in our idyllic community and neighborhood, we have several retirement homes within a short distance, and senior citizens are everywhere, holding up traffic, arguing with cashiers, and looking perplexed at the post office.  Why, a local credit union a short distance from our house was robbed a couple of years ago by the so-called “Geezer Bandit.” Not only did this Oldster successfully abscond with a substantial amount of money, he made his getaway in an RV.

Yep.  An RV.

How hard can it be to track down an RV?  Just saying. . . .

So, our elderly cats kind of fit in with the rest of the AARP landscape around here.  We always rescue their prey if we make it in time.

“How do you know Tigger ate the locust?” I asked.

“He’s throwing up now,” my Spouse replied.

And if we don’t make it in time to make the save, we always make it in time to clean up afterwards.

- Dad

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