Primal Kitty

I mentioned before we left for the Thanksgiving holiday that we left Ms. Snugglebottom home alone this weekend…alone, that is, with a dozen crickets.

We got the idea from one of Mark Sisson’s posts a while back called The Tale of the Cat and the Crickets.  I suppose it struck a chord with us because we do suffer the chronic guilt that comes with pet ownership whilst working the hours we do.  While The Husky, at least, gets her daily walks (still not enough, I’m sure, for a doggie so naturally inclined to RUN), the cat lives exclusively indoors and has made a habit of spending a good deal of her time on the windowsill crying in agony as birds and bugs and rabbits and squirrels hop past in the yard.

My cats growing up were always outdoors cats–a luxury I took for granted in my rural upbringing.  It turns out, though, that the “house cat” is a relatively new phenomenon.  Cats are natural hunters that are best adapted to roam free, not spend day after day cooped up indoors with no natural prey except for shoelaces and toes under blankets.  It doesn’t take a genius to know that poor Ms. Snugglebottom, like so many other cats, gets anxious and would so much rather be outside chasing those critters through the night like the wild little huntress she is.

The cat does get a fair amount of play time with The Husky…they’re a terrific pair and it never gets old watching a 7-pound tabby cat try to hamstring a dog almost 8 times her size.  Leaving the two alone at home is enough to mute my conscience during our days at work, but this holiday weekend we were leaving the dog at a kennel in town…so instead of leaving the poor little kitty all by her lonesome for four days and praying she wouldn’t get so frustrated she’d take down the whole house, The Man ran over to PetsMart, shelled out a whole dollar and change, and came home with a round dozen of crickets…

Mark’s post gave a pretty convincing testimonial to the benefit of giving the cat a chance to exercise her natural predatory habits in the safety of the house, so why not?  I hoped that our cat, too, could have a chance to release some tension…kinda like a kitty spa weekend, just with a lot more bug blood and guts than I’m generally into.  Worst case, she’s be completely indifferent, though I sincerely doubted that would be an issue since Ms. Snugglebottom tried to kill and eat pretty much anything that moves or has the potential to move if she can push it around with her little paws.
The result?  Complete success.  Even when The Man walked in the door and set the bag down, she knew something was up…we had to hide it from her in a kitchen cabinet until we were ready to leave, and she sat outside it whining to get in.  Finally, she got her chance…

Give them to meeeee!!!!

They’re…EVERYWHERE!!

We came home this afternoon and there wasn’t a trace of any crickets, living or dead, anywhere in the house. I’m assuming she ate them all, which would be great because I’m gonna be pissed if she just killed them all and hid them somewhere–like my bed–or if they just retreated somewhere hidden and started to breed…ick

I doubt it, though.  In the article, the author mentions that his cat could hunt and eat a couple dozen per day.  We’ll definitely be continuing the cricket hunts.  It took her a minute or two to get her wits about her when they all scattered from the bag, but in no time at all our little lioness was on the prowel, chasing some under the couch, others along the baseboards and even behind a row of books.

It’s not exactly a forest full of natural prey, but we got a little closer.  We made a happy kitty.

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