The cat sat rigidly, staring at the squirrel that stood nonchalantly on its hind legs to gnaw on an acorn less than five feet away. The sliding glass door separating the two animals allowed the squirrel to be so bold.
The cat sat rigidly, staring at the squirrel that stood nonchalantly on its hind legs to gnaw on an acorn less than five feet away.
The sliding glass door separating the two animals allowed the squirrel to be so bold.
If the squirrel had been capable of speech, it would have said, “Nyahh, nyahh nyahh nyahh nyahh.”
While the cat watched the squirrel, the man watched the cat, and thought to himself, “Who are you?”
The cat was a furry enigma, as far as the man was concerned.
At least some of its behaviors seemed strange.
For instance, why didn’t the cat like meat?
What kind of cat doesn’t like meat?
And another thing, why did it like to lick plastic bags?
What was up with that?
It was also rather aloof for a cat.
The cat was OK with the house’s human occupants, but clearly wasn’t going to commit to anything.
If something better came along, the cat seemed to indicate he was likely to move along – no offense.
Maybe it was the cat’s background.
Or rather, lack of background.
The cat was adult when the man got him from the Shelter.
All the information that came with the cat was that it had been found wandering in an urban section near a river, it had been de-clawed, and didn’t get along with other cats.
That wasn’t much to go on.
What pathway had led to the cat’s vegetarianesque lifestyle, and plastic-bag proclivities?
Was the cat perhaps raised in a confused commune setting whose conflicted denizens eschewed meat but venerated plastic-disposal bags?
Did they also have “nice” furniture they wanted to protect?
Was maybe the furniture covered in plastic, leading to the cat’s associating plastic with something inherently desirable?
And what were his siblings like? Was it a big litter? Was he maybe the middle kitten, say the third of six?
Was his mother cold to him, loving, or perhaps too preoccupied with events in her own life to give the cat all the attention it deserved during its formative first few weeks?
And what about the cat’s father?
The man didn’t know anything about the father’s background, family history, or standing in cat society.
True, father cats don’t often play a major role in their offspring’s early lives, but could some incident in the cat’s past involving his male parent produced his puzzling behaviors?
Was the cat maybe just a nut?
Was it after all more nature than nurture that led to the cat’s unfeline-like behavior?
Was the cat simply born to be non-carnivorous, yet plasticivorous?
And can Meow Mix actually be considered a vegetable?
As these questions swirled, the cat continued to stare at the squirrel and the man continued to stare at the cat.
Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media's Raynham, Mass., office and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.