CATS: Cute and Cuddly versus Efficient Predator

EFFICIENT PREDATOR

EFFICIENT PREDATOR

CUTE AND CUDDLY

CUTE AND CUDDLY

Notice: Kittens to Give Away

This litter of kittens was born in a woodpile. I knew approximately where they were but I never saw them. After about six or seven weeks the mother cat led the kittens up to the barn where I captured them and put them in a room with food, water and a litter box. They were quite wild but are gradually taming down. If they are left without any human contact for too long they become impossible to tame. I hope I’ve gotten to them soon enough.

I remember the first city cat that I met as a grade school kid. It seemed like a completely different kind of animal when compared with our athletic, lean, semi-wild farm cats that I was used to. It was much bigger than our cats and fat. I asked about that. The answer led me to another question, “You mean you never let it outside?” This seemed to me like they were withholding all the stuff that makes a cat a cat. Our cats were continually hunting and when they weren’t hunting they were working out their weird and violent social lives.

All the farmers I knew had cats. We needed cats probably more than we needed the dog. Without them we would be overrun with mice and rats. My dad, a farmer, was utilitarian about the animals on the farm. He spent no money on an animal that didn’t have a dollar value. Cats were free and I don’t think it ever came into my dad’s head to spend money on a cat for vet care. If someone suggested it, he probably would’ve thought they were joking.

Cats have an essential purpose on the farm. We have kept a couple of cats around our farm almost from the time we first moved here. They never come in the house. We’ve tried it a couple of times and they panic yowling until we let them out. I followed my farm boy model of how to keep cats. I don’t think of them as pets. I think of them as rodent control, but I’ll admit I find a lot of pleasure in having them around just for their graceful beauty and hunting prowess. It was a long time before I found out that my perspective of how to keep a cat is immoral in some people’s eyes. If you are interested, I wrote about my paradigm shift in this blog a couple of years ago (see “Cute Kitty and Tom”).

Most people nowadays don’t have the opportunity or situation to keep a cat like I do. I don’t have a moral judgment about people who keep cats continually inside, even considering the various alterations that need to be inflicted on the cat. However, having said that, I’m not apologizing for the way I care for cats. A cat that lives at our place is allowed to be a real bona-fide traditional cat. Aside from a steady ration of cat food and shelter out of the weather, he hunts on his own and takes care of himself. He is an independent free cat living on the earth. He takes his own chances in this beautiful, violent, ultimately fatal world. This is the way cats have survived ever since some prehistoric man found a litter of prehistoric kittens and kept them for his children to play with.

FARM CAT

FARM CAT

 

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