That Dog Won't Hunt

by Tina Blue
November 28, 2003

          I used to have a remarkably clever black and white tuxedo cat named Luke.  Although I ended up with three other cats during Luke's tenure, he was the first one I got after my divorce, and he was an only cat until he was about 8 years old.

          Luke decided, as cats often will where their people are concerned, that I was his "kitten," and it was his job to teach me to hunt.

          Just as a mother cat will bring live prey home for her young to learn to hunt with, Luke used to bring me live mice and snakes, setting them free right in front of me, and sitting back to see if I could catch them.

          But after several months of trying to teach me to hunt, Luke finally decided that I was--well, maybe a bit slow.  No matter how he tried, he couldn't teach me to hunt.

          But Luke figured I was still his responsibility.  So every few days, I would open my door in the early morning, only to find that Luke had kindly supplied me with "breakfast."

          I would find squirrel, mouse, bird, baby rabbit, or small garden snake lying dead, right on my doorstep.

          I can't say that I enjoyed cleaning up Luke's offerings, but it was touching that he was so obviously hunting for me.

          When Luke was 11, I got another cat, my third "Other Kitty."  Luke continued to hunt for me, but I began to see some signs that he had been training Other to hunt for me, too.  Sometimes when Luke and my third cat, Lila, would spend the night inside, I would still wake up to find "breakfast" waiting for me on my doorstep.  Since Other would be the only cat outside on those occasions, I had to assume the offering was from him.

          Luke continued to hunt for me from time to time, but as he got older, he got slower and less capable.  But Other was a robust Maine Coon Cat.  He willingly took over Luke's job, and I continued to open my front door with trepidation for as long as he was with me, because I knew there was a good chance that there would be some small gift lying there, dead, on the porch in front of my door.

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