Lokkal- todo SMA
The Cat Plays a Serious Game

Dr David, Editor/Publisher Lokkal

My cat, Fellini, an orange tabby, has its own door, in and out of the house. It's a hole I chiseled through the brick wall into the back courtyard. He comes and goes as he likes. It is my considered opinion that these Mexican street cats have their own genetics, distinct from the domestic versions we have north of the border. Theirs is a tougher, more savage life. Then, my opinion might also have have to do with gender. I've only ever lived with a gata, a female cat, never a gato, a male. He's not very affectionate. If I've just woken him up, he'll let me carry him a very short way. If I am lying on my back, he might perch on my chest. If he's just come in from a long outing, he's been known to sit in my lap.

Not that I really ever wanted to be living with this cat. He came with my girlfriend, Veronica, who for a short while, at the start of our relationship, 2 years ago, lived here, in this apartment for a few months. She got her own place 5-6 blocks away, but the cat liked mine better, returning in short order from two attempts to relocate it. I couldn't blame him. At the end of a short alley, with a double empty lot and the back patio of the church all adjacent, and a plethora of walls and roofs to walk along, it's pretty ideal for a feline.

Yesterday, working at my computer, I see out of the corner of my eye his orange mass popping in through his portal. Simultaneously I hear the squeal of a small animal. In the millisecond it takes to turn my head I think, “He's got a bird.” But then I notice that it is a rat dangling from his jaws. Now, in Mexico there is no separate word for mouse; raton is rat; ratoncito (little rat) is mouse. This was no mouse. It was a smallish rat.

Now, I'm not squeamish, and I have no sympathy for rats, especially not rats in the neighborhood, but I'm not looking forward to witnessing, even only hearing, the cat play with, that is, torture the rat, before killing and eating it. Then, it might just get away and hide under the bookcase, to die slowly there of its wounds, revealing itself to me only through the stench of its carcass. But then, it is Fellini's house, too. And if he wants to relish his prize in peace, away from the interference of neighboring cats, enclosed with far fewer escape roots, well, he deserves as much. I shut a door to make sure he doesn't go into the bedroom and go back to my office and my work.

Half an hour later, passing through the dining room I notice that Fellini is calmly staring into the corner, where I discover the little rat in the refuge of the angle where the screen door almost meets the wall. There is a bamboo cane positioned just perfectly to block the cat's access to that nook. I continue into the kitchen and cut some melon to bring up to the roof where I am about to practice my yoga. Before passing, container with melon in hand, through the guarded doorway, I remove the bamboo cane and immediately the cat extracts the rat from his former shelter. Coming back 40 minutes later from my idyllic, meditative sojourn, where the rat was there is now only a blood stain on the tiles. “Well,” I think, “at least he cleans up.”

Up in Vermont, during my first trip to hunting camp, Eddy's younger brother wanted to shoot a songbird for its tail feathers. Eddy, “If you shoot it, you've got to eat it.” Little brother, “But I want its tail feathers.” Eddy, “If you shoot it, you've got to eat it.” “Well,” I think, “at least Fellini eats his prey.”

Chris, my Vermont buddy, who brought me to hunting camp and was my general guide to Vermont the ten years I lived there, had a cat, an orange tabby same as Fellini. But his cat was twice as big, twice as bulky. We were up in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, the least populated area of the least populated state in the Union. There were a lot of woods, a lot to hunt, especially if you were a big old tabby. We had a saying up there, “Nature ain't no fucking picnic.” You had to keep your wits about you. Things get killed or die from an accident and get eaten, even big old tabbies. It was quite an education for this suburban boy.

The other day I heard that Chris had gone missing seven months ago, at the start of November. They searched the woods, searched for a month, but no one has a clue. He wouldn't have left his kids or his home. He wouldn't have committed suicide, certainly not without leaving a note; he wasn't the type to give everyone the bother of looking for him. Even though he was one of the best friends I ever had, I didn't take the news hard. I didn't think I took it hard until a few days later when the ending of James Taylor's song Fire and Rain started rolling around in my head:

But I always thought that I'd see you again.
Thought I'd see you one more time again.
There's just a few things coming my way this time around.
Thought I'd see you, thought I'd see you, fire and rain.

Trying to sing it for Veronica I just started blubbering like a baby. She took me in her arms and let me sob. I hope they're taking care of that orange cat of yours, big buddy.


photo: Alessandro Bo (cropped)

Dr David started his long publishing career as the editor of his prep school newspaper, which he immediately changed into a monthly magazine with feature length articles. He published nearly a million copies of a health magazine, Living Well. He moved to SMA seven years ago this November and started publishing San Miguel Events six months later. Please visit his new project, the "new" Lokkal: www.lokkal.com/sma/magazine/2017/september/welcome.php

You must register and log in to write a comment.
Please use the "login" link at the top (right) of the page.

Subscribe / Suscribete  
If you receive San Miguel Events newsletter,
then you are already on our mailing list.    
   click ads
copyright 2023