6: Indoor Hunter

6: Indoor Hunter

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?

Indoor Hunter

The cat is domestic only as far as suits its own ends.

~Saki

We had to settle for a cat when our landlord wouldn’t allow dogs. One thing led to another and we eventually ended up with three. One of them, the American tabby we named Snickers, was a natural hunter, confused by the unnatural environment in which we made her live — indoors.

Snickers had a few favourite “prey,” and one of them was drinking straws. As you would walk through the house carrying a drink adorned with a straw, a pair of calculating eyes would be trained on the plastic tube. If you didn’t keep your eyes on your drink, if you dared leave the room, the sound of your glass toppling over as she stole the straw would have you running back in.

Eventually Snickers perfected her skill. No sooner would you get comfy on the couch when the “ferocious” feline would stalk your drink. Delicately tilting her head to one side, she would grasp the straw with her teeth and gingerly pull it out of the glass without knocking the whole thing over.

With her prize in her mouth, she would proudly skulk away, a possessive deep-throated “kill” growl vibrating through your still-standing glass. The grand finale was her attempt at posing her hefty tabby body like the Great Sphinx of Giza, with the straw cradled between her paws.

But it wasn’t the straws that were the real problem with our hunter. Unfortunately, Snickers had decided that my husband’s underwear constituted worthy prey as well, and we never knew when a pair of socks or knickers would be on display in our foyer or in the middle of the living room floor for the few guests we managed to invite over.

The mystery was, how did Snickers get “the drawers” out of the drawers? One day, we caught her in the act and watched the process in awe. She climbed up the side of the dresser, using each drawer’s edge as a step, until she reached the underwear drawer at the top. With her back legs as leverage on the drawer below, she wedged her front claws into the drawer and pulled.

Then, dangling by her front legs, she hoisted herself into the drawer. After rooting around she emerged with her so-called “kill” clamped in her mouth and jumped down.

Even though we were right in front of her, she didn’t care. Our presence was no threat. Down the stairs she stealthily crept, the underwear in her mouth muffling her trademark deep-throated “kill” growl. As she neared the living room the growling became more intense, and there she dropped her kill and lay on it.

We never figured out what made Snickers pick socks over underwear. What made it a sock day? What made it a knickers day? And it didn’t matter whether we were home or not — her fetish had no scheduled time. Seeing as our house was small, we could hear when a drawer was being opened and knew what would come next.

Snickers is no longer with us, but her memory lives on through the claw marks on my husband’s dresser drawers. And although I can finally stock straws in my house and use them without incident, I still sometimes hesitate, and reflect. And then I get a little nostalgic for the good old days when glasses got knocked over and I tripped on underwear in the front hall.

~Lisa McManus Lange

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