Birdie for Breakfast
“The average blogger is a 14-year-old girl writing about her cat,” says Alexander Halavais, an assistant professor of interactive communications at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, as quoted in the Washington Post. While I’m neither 14 nor a girl, I do love writing about my cat.
Take this morning, for instance. I’m sitting at my PowerBook, typing away when I notice Bijli come into the room. She has something in her mouth, which appears to be one of her toys. The catnip-filled plush donkey, maybe. Anyway, I don’t pay attention. Until she sets the toy down.
It starts to move.
It’s breathing. Fast. Panting.
Then it tries to fly away.
Bijli jumps forward and puts her front paws on it, holding it down. The bird stops struggling. Then Bijli lets it go and it tries to fly away again. Bijli pounces on it and brings it to ground, holds it, and sits there. Feathers drift onto the rug. Bijli does this maybe five more times until the room is littered with feathers. And then she makes a mistake.
The bird can still fly. It takes off and perches on a curtain rod.
Great. Now what?
Bijli can’t get up there. The bird is too wounded to survive, I imagine. So I have to help. I’ve now become her accomplice. I suppose this is how Manson-like crimes start. Anyway, I try to get the bird down. But, of course, it can fly and I can’t. So it flies around the room, perching on various objects, until it comes to rest, again, on the curtain.
I grab it.
Inside my closed hand, its heart is beating away. It’s panting. It’s freaked. It’s a little pulsing ball of feathers. Now, do I let it go? Or give it to the cat? This is what you call a “crisis decision.” Crisis decisions are supposed to reveal character, according to dramatic theory.
I take the bird in my hand and show it to my cat. “See? Bird. Follow me?” I take the bird downstairs as Bijli trots behind me. I place the bird out on the deck and Bijli immediately gets the idea. She pounces on it and hold it down. Then she takes it in her mouth—and comes back inside with it!
Commit ornithocide on the deck—outside, please. I want to support your hobbies and everything, but don’t make mess in the house.
I nudge her out onto the deck and close the door, then come back upstairs and continue what I was doing. A little while later, I come down to the kitchen to get some hot chocolate. I look out on the deck.
Feathers. But no bird.
I’m standing there, looking for the bird, guessing she killed it, hopefully as humanely as possible. And then I think about that word, “humanely.” How humane are we, humans, when we kill something? Not very. So here’s to hoping she killed it with feline felicity and skill, like the little cheetah she resembles.