Sunday, January 17, 2010

We had cats on the farm when I was young. But they stayed in the barn. They were all named “cat.” They fed themselves. They would disappear for six months at a time, and then show up again, or not show up again. They were pettable, but generally uninterested. They hung around because the barn was warm and the rodent presence that is inalienably associated with any human presence provided them with a food source. The consumable detritus that we generated was a bonus. When they would have kittens in the hayloft, we would cuddle and pet them and try to play with them. It was only possible when they were yet tiny; they constantly tried to get away, and did as soon as they could. Dad would usually kill half the litter by knocking them in the head. In a litter of six to eight kittens, if you killed half, then one or two might live to adulthood. Sometimes Dad didn't thin the litter, and they would all die.

Life is cheap; non-human life particularly so.

No comments: