The Shadow is Bigger but I'm Smarter
He called us.
He was up in a tree in front of our apartment building and came down when he saw us. We brought him in to give him some food. He immediately behaved like our house was also his. In half an hours time he was already using a big pot from one of our plants as his toilet. Nobody had taught him that. We later found out that he had come from a couple of blocks away where his mother and brothers lived as stray cats. The rest of them were afraid, and ran away if we got closer than a few meters. He was the only one perfectly comfortable with us. A few days later we decided to take him back outside and see if he wants to return to his family. After a few hours, when we went back to check on him, he came running towards us.
It was clear that he wanted to be with us. We lived happily for the next month, and sometimes it seemed he absorbed all of our time. But then we had to move and took him to one of our mothers, who lives in a different city. From our trips to the vet we knew he din’t like being in a car, so we decided to take him by train. He wasn’t for a moment scared, in fact he actually seemed to be enjoying the train ride, looking out the window and trying to climb up the luggage rack. After he entered the house he immediately acted as if he owned the place. Most cats get stressed out by changing residence, and it takes them at least a few days to adjust, but he never even flinched. Next day he took control of the yard and was already climbing over the fence to the neighbours, and sometimes even seemed to dominate the dog, in spite of the fact that he had lived in an apartment with us.
But most importantly he seemed to be the smartest kitten, or cat, we had ever met (up until that point or since), he was playful and understanding (he never woke us up asking for food even though we used to sleep until noon). All this and he was only four months old. We had high hopes for him. And rightfully so, he seemed to be growing into a healthy and beautiful tom. Because of the distance we only visited a couple of times in the following months, he adjusted very well, and seemed to be doing very well in his new surroundings, and everybody had grown very fond of him, except maybe the neighbours, who didn’t care for him passing through their yard.
A couple of month’s later, completely out of the blue, the mother decided to neuter him, even though we had repeatedly agreed before that she wouldn’t do it. After that, he wasn’t the same. Due to some other family business we only got to see him about four months later. He had shrunk in size and was smaller than he had been the last time we saw him six months before (which was quite remarkable considering he was barely a year old now and this should have been his growing period). He was a lot more distant with everybody and the joy from his eyes seemed to have gone away. He was constantly wounded, probably the work of the other cats and dogs in the neighbourhood.
A couple of weeks later he disappeared one night and we never saw him again. We heard rumours that one of the neighbour had killed him with a shovel, but we never found out what happened to him. It’s been almost a year now, but nobody saw him since.
People often say “he behaved like an animal”, when referring to somebody who has acted violently and stupidly. But no other animal behaves that way, as humans are the only ones who can operate with lies to justify behaviour. They can seamlessly integrate lies into their consciousness, and this allows them to do things no other species can.
- September 16th, 2010
- Canon EOS 7D
55mm / f/3.5 / 1/5000 sec
- View Photo