Over the years, Jack has caught a number of flying or crawling creatures while exploring the gardens. Among these creatures have been butterflies, cicadas, birds, moths and shrews. He usually brings me these creatures and leaves the carcasses in the breezeway as an “offering” of sorts.
One particular morning I spotted Jack chewing on something in the grass just off of the patio. Judging by his persistence in the eating, I knew I had to investigate.
When I arrived on the scene, all that I found were two small bird feet. The rest of the baby birdie had been consumed.
My stomach was churning at the thought of this feathered appetizer he had just devoured. To make matters worse, Jack strolled just feet away and urped up what he had just eaten. I had to pick up the mess and nearly urped myself.
Now, I know he’s just a cat, and cats will eat things like this. But Jack, in his nearly 7 years of life, had never eaten anything that he caught. He definitely had never left me “parts” of what he caught – like little birdie feet.
The 20-pound cat has a large bowl of top-quality crunchy food always available for him on the kitchen sink (sometimes chicken flavored, by the way). But apparently, that isn’t good enough. Strangely, he shies away from soft food, and if I try to offer him cheese or table food, he crinkles up his nose and scurries away from me like I’m going to force-feed him.
The little bitty birdie was obviously more appetizing.
I was now reevaluating my tendency to kiss Jack on his cute black lips and nose.
I think that he has acquired a taste for feathered friends from my birdbaths. I have two large clay saucers that sit a short distance off of the ground. Jack and my other two cats, Forest and Joan, love to sit beside the saucers and lap water out of them like they are cups.
I saw a calendar at a veterinary office and a cat was pictured drinking out of a birdbath in the same manner. The words on the calendar said, “Ick. It tastes like dirty little birdie feet.”
Apparently, Jack likes the taste of water seasoned by dirty birds. I see him do it every time he ventures into the fenced-in backyard.
Those saucers of water have attracted Forest to create his own special broth. He tossed a dead shrew into a saucer on a hot summer day and I found it floating belly up.
By the look of the little birdie feet that Jack left for me that morning, I think it was a sparrow. His choice for breakfast was ironic.
You see, I met Jack when he was a kitten. He was crouched under a large bush, staring up into the leafless branches that were teeming with sparrows. Jack was mesmerized by their movement and chirping. Initially, I named him Sparrow.
In his adulthood, Jack has nabbed at least one adult sparrow as it zipped between bushes in our backyard. He left the body of that bird for me to see.
The tender little baby bird he caught on this particular morning he obviously didn’t feel like sharing.
Like men who hang deer head mounts on the wall to show off their hunting skills, Jack left me birdie feet. I jokingly considered hanging them on his leather collar as charms.