Standing on his hind legs, sure he’d heard a sound from the other end of the garden, he stretched his neck, sniffed the air and listened. His eyes were not his best feature, not that they enabled him to see very well into the distance, just movements. Everyone had said his eyes were beautiful, his best feature, but what good were they if you didn’t have a good pair of ears that could twitch back to hear in both directions – and a good sense of smell of course.
Yes, it was smell and hearing that were his best features. The rest was there just to make people look at him and coo. That’s what they did when they saw him. Except of course when he’d been very brave and clever and caught a pigeon or a rabbit, then they got over-excited and shouted at him, especially when he brought them into the house.
He was particularly confused yesterday afternoon when he spotted the creature in the garden. Staring in astonishment at this particularly stupid bird, he knew that it would be an easy catch. Or at least he would have known it if he’d had time to think. As it was, the creature had just appeared in the hedge whilst he was in there hunting about, hiding from the human woman who was planting something in the earth that he’d thought was newly dug for his own personal toilet. He’d just been thinking, ‘I’ll soon have that out again,’ when the creature, panicking, flapped its useless wings, alerting him to the opportunity to show his human what a brilliant cat he was.
He hadn’t expected the thing to flap quite so much. Still whilst in his jaws, as soon as he’d opened his mouth to call to the human to look at what he’d caught, the wings flapped and he had to snatch it back with his sharp claws before it could get away, clamping it firmly between his teeth. It hadn’t helped that his human friend had started shouting at him those noises which usually meant you’d better either stop what you’re doing or run away as fast as you can. Of course, he ran. There was no way that he was going to let the catch go now. The woman chased him all the way round to the back of the garage where he slipped through the gap in the hedge to the garden next door.
He knew he’d be safe there. The old man living in the house only came out at the end of the afternoon when he’d had a session (his words) with the old chap down the road. Both the neighbour and his friend were loud but they couldn’t walk very fast, especially at the end of the afternoon, so he knew he could get on with what he was doing.
The trouble was, he was unsure of what to do next with the creature. It was dead now and nowhere near as interesting and he wasn’t sure he could be bothered to actually eat it, already having had a rather large bowl of those dried biscuit things that smelt nice but tasted a bit bland that the human woman gave him.
Once the coast was clear he carried the creature back through the hedge but just at that moment the human man he lived with arrived. He heard the woman saying something about that damned cat catching a pheasant. At first the man looked astounded but as soon as he saw the cat he started shouting too. ‘Why do humans do all that shouting?’ He wondered. ‘I don’t understand them. One minute they are all over you, the next they’re chasing you about with a broom.’
He fled away again, dropped the creature on the old man’s side of the hedge and found his way to the safety of the bottom of the garden. Lying there, panting, wondering what it was all about, suddenly he noticed a nearby smaller bird, a pretty thing with a red breast, hopping about. ‘That’s more like it,’ he thought, creeping silently until he was near enough to pounce.
As he was crunching up the much easier mouthful he heard the human woman shouting in the distance: ‘He’s got another bloody bird!’
Image by Christine Lawrence.