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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our New Cats: Squirrels

Rook's post on his cat that I saw today inspired me to post for the first time in exactly a month, on the subject of our new cats.

This past summer our last surviving real cat, the venerable short-haired black male that we called "Beauty," crept up out of his great decrepitude at the time and disappeared, not to be seen or heard from again.  During my frequent forays all over the property I keep expecting to find what might remain of his remains, in the woods close to the house or even in the leaves under our house -- it is built on posts -- but so far no sign.

Wife and I share a common amazement over all the ways that we are glad that we no longer have cats, even though we had them for years and for most of that time eight of them at a time, and we took great delight in them and didn't begrudge any of it, and we often think about the three or four more memorable and loving of them.   But now that we can open a door and leave it open without having to worry about one trying to push his or her way indoors past us, and now that we can hear dogs running through and shouting nearby without having to worry about one, two, or three of them chewing up one of our cats or running it up a tree, and now that we don't have to worry about feeding the cats three times a day, every day, for those and for a great variety of other reasons we feel that out existences have been considerably lightened, and the delight that we took in them has shifted to the squirrels of unknown identities and carefully maintained numbers who live all around us.

Squirrels are just as cute as cats, especially in the way that they will run up a tree and then peek around the trunk at you to see if you're still watching, and in the way that the young ones scamper about, often treating both our house and my workshop as play areas that are especially available to them everywhere except inside because the roughsawn lumber that I used for the buildings allows their little claws to get good purchase on the wood.   Plus they tend to their own affairs, totally, they don't need to be fed, they don't do anything destructive that I've discovered so far, they;'re only noisy in the daytime during what I assume is the springtime mating season, and that is not really noisy, and you don't need to take them to the vet

I don't know if they know yet that they know that they've taken the place of our cats with us, though in a much more detached way.   But I am certain that they've discovered that they no longer have the cats to worry about.  (A cat can beat a squirrel, you know, though doing so was way too much work for the ones that we had.).   That awareness of the squirrels' new relaxation is shown by the number of times we now see them them walking along our window ledges, not to check on us or anything inside the house but just for the hell of it

I can think of no happier existence that an animal can have in the wild than  a squirrel has in a woods with lots of tall oak trees everywhere, and no two-legged creatures assassinating them with guns and then skinning them by peeling off the skins  in a process that is like taking a sock off a foot -- a difficult job because it is a very close fit --  and dropping their carcasses in a stewpot.


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