He Wouldn’t Hurt A Fly


The patient hunter

He really wouldn’t.

Once, as a kitten, Graham spent an afternoon chasing a fly around the house.  For hours, I watched him sliding across the kitchen floor, jumping over the coffee table, hopping up on the bathroom sink, having the time of his life chasing after that thing.  Then, once he’d been calm and quiet long enough to make me wonder, he came up to me and sat down at my feet.

He calmly looked up at me, opened his mouth and that fly took off.  And, with a look of complete satisfaction, Graham ran off again, back to the hunt.

He was born a city boy, staying mostly inside our places in the Minneapolis area.  At one place where we lived, he would hang out on a 2nd floor deck to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine when it wasn’t covered in snow.  He stayed active and crazy, but wasn’t much of a hunter.  Not until Fayette County got into him.

He and I spend a decent amount of time outside now, enjoying an area where we can stretch out a bit without worrying about anything more than the thoughts of our neighbors.  He hates the wild cats that live in the woods but they usually stay away.  And when a house cat was lost and came into our yard, Graham gave me serious attitude – and a few hisses – for petting it and feeding it until it could make it back home.

He likes the family of gophers that lives here, but will chase them away if they come too close to his house.  Wild turkeys are fun to watch, but only from a distance, while deer are like his big buddies that just won’t let him play along.  And Lil Squatch, the mole?  He treats that little guy like a toy that came to life.

But he and the birds?  They’ve got issues.  And it’s only going to get worse…

They talk trash back and forth, from the trees to the ground and back again.  And some of the birds used to swoop down at Graham until they saw his leaping skills.  For a cat that always takes the stepping-stone approach (jumping to a chair and then to the table rather than directly to his highest goal for example) I was shocked to see him leap straight up, five or six feet into the air, to practically swat a robin to the ground.  Word seemed to get around after that.

I’ve seen Graham stalk a bird that isn’t paying close enough attention, startling it out of a tree and chasing it in laps around the tree and across the yard, mere inches behind its wildly flapping wings.  It’s been funny to watch, and I’ve repeatedly told him “next time” when he trotted back over to me.  But, that was just for his morale as I never actually believed it.

Until now…

It was a hot day and I was doing a little yard work and I thought he was just laying out on the grass, enjoying the sun and the occasional breeze.  Until I heard a thump.

When I turned around, the deed was already done.  They were close to a tree, but Graham had taken it out of the air, landing on it as he came back down to the ground.  It was one of the sparrows, usually quick and agile birds, but Graham can be deceptively fast.  Now that he’d gotten one however, he didn’t know what to do.  And, since I was so close, I was able to pick him up and take him inside before he did anything more.

At least the bird didn’t suffer – and I didn’t have to put it down.  The shock and the crash to the ground did it in.  And it’s quiet outside now.  The birds have been giving Graham silent respect as they mourn one of their own.  And he’s been pretty quiet himself, staying close to the house on that side, or walking on the other side away from where the incident occurred.  But that’s all temporary I know.

It’s in his nature, but not something that had occurred until now.  And I’m sure the bird/cat rivalry will be renewed and back in full force before long.  But until then, there’s a fly that got in, and I’m hoping I can convince Graham to go back to the hunt.

Sic him boy!


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