mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The hunter, umm, hunts....

She sees her prey. It's out of her reach, but within her sight. And her body gets ready for the kill. Her ears perk up like antennas, her pupils get huge, black centers blocking out the yellow like a solar eclipse. Her tail starts to quiver with excitement, smacking back and forth. Her prey is still there, unmoving, and she knows it's alive but can't change that. She lets out a sound, half excitement, half annoyance.


I don't know what it is about cats and bugs. Even for a seven pound or so feline, hunting a bug seems pointless - lots of work, not very much meat. But every time Nibbler the cat sees a bug, the hunt is on. She'll stare at it for hours, tail thumping, ready to pounce if it gets close enough. She'll jump at it, time after time. She'll meow at it, as if the bug will sense her frustration, come closer, let her kill it. Most of the times, I haven't even know there was a bug - in this case, a tiny gnat or something that came inside when I went outside to take out the trash, and that positioned itself halfway up the wall in the foyer of my townhouse.

People often debate about the morals of eating meat - does ethics mean that it's wrong to kill other animals? Our hunting instincts are gone - we don't see a cow in a field and think dinner, because we get our cow parts neatly shrink-wrapped in styrofoam at the local Weis or Giant. But when I look at the hunter instinct of my cat, I wonder if at some point - before farming, before grocery stores, when life was brutal and short, if people responded to prey the same way my cat does (well, except for the tail moving). There is something ingrained in Nibbler The Cat's genes that tells her to spend hours stalking a tiny gnat 5 feet out of her reach when there is a perfectly good bowl of Purina Natural Cat Chow half a flight of stairs away.

And I suspect at one time it was in our genes too, or the human race probably would have died out.


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