Death In The Afternoon

A brief account of the victims of Ziggy the domestic cat. By Paul Rider
There are ups and downs to owning a cat. The ups are companionship, relaxation, interesting chats and disposing of flies/wasps. The downs are medical bills, considering who’s gonna feed them when going on hols, and being too clingy at times. But the hunting side – it’s hard to judge whether that’s a positive or negative. A cat hunts through instinct even though they don't actually need to eat their catch. They munch on a big bowl of processed biscuits or tripe, then prowl the gardens like lions looking for birds. You cannot stop them, besides hanging a bell round their necks, which is just wrong. But you kind of admire the ability, the determination and the loyalty of bringing something dead home as a gift to the owner, at the same time pitying the poor defenceless victim.

Here are some of Ziggy's recent conquests:
• A bird with one wing ripped off flapping around the kitchen in circles, me trying to catch it in a tea towel, Ziggy screaming with delight.
• A dead baby bird left as a gift on the conservatory floor. Ten minutes after me disposing of it there’s another, as if he had it in storage.
• Hearing the most ear-piercing scream and realising Ziggy had a fat toad in his mouth (I didn’t realise toads could scream). Trying to prize the toad from teeth piercing its flesh - managed it but the toad died in the process.
• Waking up to find a mouse on the sofa and one in the kitchen, both dead on their backs, goofy teeth facing upwards.
• Finding a frog under the sofa, alive, and trying to trap it with dustpan and brush while in my pants, then putting it outside only for Ziggy to finish it off when my back is turned.
• Finding a bird's severed head in the bathroom – but no body.
• Walking out to the garden and seeing Ziggy bounding along with a flapping goldfish in mouth, hoping he didn’t take the thing from someone’s tank indoors. The fish died, couldn’t find water quick enough
• Admiring a beautiful butterfly only for Ziggy to dash out from the corner of the garden and KILL IT.
• Finding a half eaten fox in the garden, not sure if that was a Ziggy conquest. I'm suspicious as he has a bad track record.