I’m sure that many of you have cats and knowing what cats are like I suspect many of you will have experienced the ‘pleasure’ of finding the occasional ‘gift’ caught by a cat and then left somewhere in the house for you to find and clean up. In the past our cats have left gifts which have included rabbits, pigeons, small rodents, birds and frogs.
This morning my wife found one such present on the back doorstep, on picking it up it turned out to still be alive, Quickly she fetched a bowl of water from our rain butt and submerged the poor creature in the water before calling me to come and have a look. When I arrived there was a magnificent Gold Fish about 5 or 6 inches long swimming around in the bowl of rain water. She had used the water from the rain butt as it had no chemicals and was the same temperature as the pond.
We debated waking the neighbour, but at that early hour we decided to get the fish back quickly into its own pond in an effort to enhance its survival chances. So my wife clambered over our dividing fence and took the fish back to the pond. Realising the neighbour was actually already awake she knocked on his door and explained what had happened. Fortunately he is a very understanding man. So far it looks like the fish has survived, although it did lose some scales and had a short gash in it.
This was such an unusual gift I thought I would record the event with a poem and share it with you; I hope you enjoy reading it. I would be most interested to know what your cats most unusual present has been, so please feel free to let me know by leaving a comment.
Darkness blankets suburban gardens.
Under the distant stars and faint moonlight
The florae casts eerie irregular shadows.
Here in the gloom, concealed by the night;
Tiny creatures forage for food
and use the cloak of darkness to rest,
Unaware that through the dark
steals the harbinger of death.
The sleek body hugs close to the floor.
Large unblinking eyes focus on their target.
The head remains motionless, ears erect
as the shoulders smoothly rise and fall
and the silent paws drive the body forward.
Behind a tail hangs low,
occasionally a slight flick of the last inch
betrays building excitement.
Patiently this master of stealth
used only the darkest patches of shadow
to close the gap between predator and prey.
The eyes, blessed with night vision remained focused,
revealing a cold calculating mind.
Suddenly the moment arrives, the paw strikes,
claws flash with a sudden splash of silver in the dark
and gouge into the flank of the prey.
Proudly she views the poor creature
Flicks it over, mouths it, and plays with it.
She picks it up and trots back to the house,
places the gift on the doormat and
silently enters the warmth of the house.
Later, after the cockerel cries and the birds begin to sing,
the mistress of the house finds the golden gift,
selected so lovingly from the neighbour’s fish pond.
John Carré Buchanan 15 January 2012
* In the second verse I credit the villain of this tale with being "sleek", We have 2 3/4 cats (one is an amputee) and whilst two are sleek, we feel that the paw prints left at the scene of this crime were probably from our slightly more generously proportioned feline friend.