Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Daughter The Inadequate Hunter

It was pretty hot yesterday, by local standards. Thirty degrees. Didn't cool down until a late storm came through. As a result, the kids weren't too happy about being put to bed.

They mostly fell asleep, though. Eventually, anyhow. So I sat up and watched the cricket for a while. I haven't bothered much this season, but the game last night was pretty cool, what with Shahid Afridi's ball-biting antics, and the Pakistanis making a real, serious game of it at last. Shame about that dickhead who tackled Latif, though. Whatever happened to simple, harmless streakers?

Anyway, just in that last critical five-over period where Mike Hussey and Nathan Hauritz were laboriously singling their way towards the needed total, I heard a bit of commotion from the Mau-Mau's room. I ignored it, though. I figured she was just grizzling again -- the heat, the I'm Not Tireditis, all that good shit.

I was wrong. Next thing I hear is the daughter: "Look, Dad," she says, from somewhere behind my shoulder. "Toxo brought me a bunny!"

I look. And O, Cthulhu, sure enough: the Mau-Mau is holding a limp dead rabbit by the scruff of its neck. It's about half-grown, and very cute... but I know these critters well enough to know it is absolutely crawling with fleas, and as the corpse cools, they are going to jump ship.

So I collect said bunny, and point out very kindly and gently that it's dead, expecting all kinds of howls. But the Mau-Mau barely blinks. There's a moment of sadness -- a little 'oh, and a downturn of the mouth. So I explain that Toxo is trying to look after her, 'cos she's the smallest in the house, and he thinks she needs to eat more, so he's bringing her food.

There's a short pause. "I don't want to eat the bunny," she says.

"That's okay," I tell her. "I'll put it in the compost heap. And we won't tell Toxo. Is that okay?"

It was. She went off to sleep very nicely after that. And so did the bunny...

Gotta love that cat. He's clearly identified the Mau-Mau as an inadequate hunter, in need of more food and training, so he's doing his best to bring her up to speed. He's having an effect, too. She spends hours pretending to be 'Toxo', grommiting about on the floor, meowing, pretending to wash herself. It's her favourite game, and more often than not she demands to be called 'Toxo', and wants to lap her milk from a bowl...

... wish there was a way to explain to the cat that he's doing his job well. I'd like him to stop worrying so much. Definitely don't need any more dead bunnies.


  1. Surprised you can't speak cat amonst your many skills.

  2. You wanna train that cat to bring home something decently edible. Like a pig maybe.

  3. Beeso... it's a complicated sorta language. I don't think I've got all the necessary noisemakers. But the cat definitely understands when I hiss at him. Which I do, when he sets up to jump claws-first into my lap while I'm trying to type.

    Bondi: no feral pigs hereabouts. And the cat has definite opinions about his capacity to handle big game. He's brought me a few adult bunnies, but has yet to assay a wallaby. I'd happily eat one of the local wallabies, though. (Get yer act in gear, cat!)

  4. Oh the pig doesn't have to be feral.

  5. How did the cat get the name "Toxo", sort of different to the usual Tiger or Fluffy.
    Must be a story in there somewhere.
    Did he fall into a barrel of toxic sludge perhaps?

  6. Toxo is named for Toxoplasma gondii, the common parasite of cats which is Not A Good Idea for pregnant women - can cause brain issues in the foetus. Natalie was pregnant the second time when Toxo showed up. He was most likely an abandoned kitten, because within a week of her decision that we could feed the scraggy thing that kept hanging around the house and miaowing pitifully, he was a full-blown house cat.

    But she chose the name!