I’m not talking about their habit of gagging up fur balls at the bottom of the bed sheets or the way they insist on walking in exactly the same spatial corridor as me. I’m not even talking about the way they will sometimes stop what they’re doing and stare just beyond my shoulders as if to imply there is some kind of spectre unseen by human eyes just behind me just to freak me out.
This kind of cat behaviour is well documented and nothing new.
Instead I am at last beginning to formulate a league table of cat kills based entirely upon the pleasure response of the cat’s palate. In other words, I am beginning to suss out what a cat considers good to eat and what it considers bad. I am developing cat taste. Albeit solely hypothetically at this stage.
The league table is currently thus (with purry-yummy stuff at the top and ca-ca spitting horrible stuff at the bottom):
- Bees and wasps
Of course, were I to include all food stuffs in the list then pole position would be occupied by human food followed swiftly in second place by shop bought cat food. But for the purposes of this research I am confining myself to animals made unalive by the intervention of my cats obeying their natural instincts to assassinate anything that moves in a prey-sexy way… and by how much of the carcass they actually eat.
I need to point out here that cats do not kill to eat. Not anymore. My cats are well fed and their kill ratio has nothing at all to do with the gap between meal times. They are just as likely to down a gazelle after a full bowl of Iams as they are hours after the bowl has become empty.
Out of all cat kills, mice evidently taste the best. Mice get eaten nearly completely. Sometimes they will leave the head, or the tail and hindquarters, or sometimes just the feet. But a good portion of the mouse will be internalized by the cat. Mice are therefore 'cat yummy'.
Birds – when allowed to get away with killing one outright (because usually I stage a lightning rescue) follow the same pattern as mice above - it's just that their frequency on the menu is lessened by my intervention. I have often found a skull, claws and wings but nothing much else when waking in the morning and stumbling onto the latest bit of kitty carnage in the hallway.
Butterflies make them pull horrible faces. They clearly don’t taste too nice but must contain some sort of addictive drug because despite the gurning and tongue wiping the cats always go back for more.
Moths, however, are an eat once and then never again kind of buffet. Now the moths are just killed – pawed to exhaustion I suspect – and then left like furry crisps on the carpet ready to self adhese to the undersides of my feet.
The dragonfly was interesting. There’s only been one confirmed kill in my house so far. All the parts were there but the head was separate from the body. I deduced from this that it tasted foul but put up a fight. In fact it didn’t stop fighting until the cats disabled the central control unit, i.e. the head.
Bees and wasps they attack, sometimes chew but never ever swallow. Never. They probably feel like prickly vibrators with a burning acidic centre. My cats would probably rather eat broccoli.
I’m hoping to experiment with frogs, toads and lizards next but they seem to be in short supply around my area. I’d like to try them on horse too but it might mean taking the cats to Tesco and I don’t think they’d be up for that.
Anyhoo, I just need to pass my findings onto somebody. I’m sure there’s money to be made out of this. I mean, why have Whiskas never produced mouse flavoured cat food? It’s always puzzled me, that has. We offer them lamb and beef flavoured food but, really, the day I see my cats downing an Aberdeen Angus is the day I buy a dog.
To protect me from the cats.