Society & Culture

An Age of Indoor Cats

Cats, I’ve sometimes been told, make better pets than dogs, because cats are more independent, which is just another way of saying that dogs have been domesticated for so many thousands of years, they are genetically the kinds of creatures that find their fulfillment in loving and serving man, while cats are not.  I love dogs, and like cats well enough, and so my wife and I have always had a dog and nearly always had a cat.  We have a dog and two cats now.  We picked up the felines in the usual way, that is, we took them in their wild lives.  One was a kitten yowling piteously on the side of the road one night, calling for the coyotes.  The other was a yearling cat that showed up in our barn and concluded it was a good gig.

The cats sleep indoors at night, but are outside for most of the day.  There they have cat adventures, which are not hard for them to find in the summer, when we go to an island in rural Cape Breton to live.  They fish in the marsh and the drainage ditches that run along our street.  They climb the stubby willow trees and wait for the unwary bird to perch nearby.  They go on safaris through tall grass and hogweed, bringing down big game—mice, voles, chipmunks, and red squirrels.  They get into fights with a feral cat who tries to steal their prey.  They glare at our dog on his lead, as if he were a coyote, or as if he could suddenly become one. ...

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