The family cat was 9 years old when we moved into an old crummy house for the year. Neither the cat nor I had lived in a place that had mice before. She caught the first one and brought it up to my bedroom one night. Oh, what’s that, I thought. Oh, a mouse. A MOUSE!
It was strange to see the 9 year old cat with a mouse hanging out of her mouth for the first time in her life. She seemed proud. I was proud, 9 long years and she finally had the opportunity to catch a mouse, and she succeeded. I wondered if she felt fulfilled as a cat.
She dropped the mouse and it scurried under the bureau, but it was hobbling and its breathing was strained. In one sense, the situation was sad, the poor little mouse caught as a toy, by a cat that had no idea how to effectively kill and no interest in eating it, and its tiny life was going to be over soon.
But in another sense, the cat was able to do what cats have been doing since man and cat first crossed paths: catch mice. Man and his stockpiles of food attracted mice, which in turn attracted cats, and the alliance was formed. I think I connected with the cat on a different level that night.
She caught more mice the following nights, until she seemed to run out of mice. She kept a watchful eye though, every night until we moved. I felt bad for her when we left — would her life be incomplete without mice to catch? It was something special to see her fulfilling her potential as a hunter.
But that’s life isn’t it? Sometimes we lie dormant for years, waiting for our opportunity to shine. And maybe it’ll only last for a small fraction of our lifetime, but there we are, living the dream.