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Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Gift

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.

The Gift

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.


  1. Great story John,
    I really enjoyed reading it.
    Recently the cat of my sister in law was able to caught a rabbit and manage his own lunch.

    Normally the cat likes to be spoilt.

    Cheerio and enjoy your Sunday eveneing

  2. Jens, I'm glad you liked the story. I must admit that when our cat caught the rabbit and a pigeon I was amazed that a cat could catch something so large. thanks for your comment.

  3. Great story and amazing poem!
    Once we had a long-haired cat that wanted to stay outdoors all the time, sometimes he wouldn't show up for a week. He brought back a gift, that he didn't even know of himself, because there was a frog stuck to the hair at his belly and he carried it with him into the house. Not funny at all when you have to remove the creature. The frog didn't survive, though!

  4. Sylvia, Thanks for your comment, I found the frog that was bought in when I got up in the dark to see what the cat was doing and it jumped on my bare foot, a big surprise. Fortunately Frogs seem to survive when they get bought in over here.

  5. Thank you for your comment, I am glad you like my blog.

  6. lo John, really enjoyed the gift as I have two cats myself and their favourite gift seem to be birds, I took one up to the GSPCA because it was cold and rainy and I thought it would survive better as the cat had not killed it he really only brings them in to show me how clever he is. hope this gets to you I am following your instructions. I do hope you will submit some of your poems for the eisteddfod this year in February. This blog is a great idea glad it is successful and the feedback helpful.

  7. Susan,
    Thank you very much for the comment, I'm glad the instructions worked. As for the eisteddfod, I'm not so sure, it is really not my style, but happy to discuss when we meet on Wednesday.

  8. Love the story and the poem. And yes, I have a cat and recognize that story very well! I am sure that cats really do consider them as a gift to us for looking after them.

    1. Liz, Thanks I'm delighted that yo uliked my poem. I sometimes wonder with my cats if they are delivering a gift or just reminding you to stay in line! By the way if you like cats take a look at simons cat http://www.simonscat.com/ . It is not mine but it is exceptional.


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