One Year Of Photography by Howard Haby

150/365: Mosquito Killers.

Yesterday was about my mosquito plant, today is about my mosquito killers. The first is a little racket-shaped, cheap, plastic thing that electrocutes the little buggers (which has become somewhat enjoyable and addictive), the other is our cat Penny. Dexter is a pretty good mosquito catcher as well, but Penny’s skill level far exceeds anything Dexter will ever develop and she is a true acrobatic genius when it comes to catching flies – she’s in a completely different league. Moths…. not so much. She can catch them, but she can’t/won’t kill them. She just paws at them and then acts all surprised when they start flying again, and the chase continues. This has lead me to suspect that her “mosquito killings” have all been fortunate accidents.

This isn’t the first time I’ve suspected Penny’s hesitation for “the kill”. When she was fairly young, Amy and I had a small toy mouse that she loved. We’d throw it into the air to each other, treating Penny like the monkey in the middle, and she would leap and scurry and do whatever she could to catch it. Sometime later, we discovered we had an actual mouse in the house. It ran behind our kitchen garbage can and I thought, ok, here’s Penny’s time to shine, earn her keep, so to speak.  I lift the garbage away, and the mouse is still, it isn’t moving at all. I got Penny all worked up before this, and when I pointed the mouse out to here, she rushes over to it. She places her paw on the mouse and the mouse took off. So did Penny! Straight up into the air! I suspect she jumped a good 5-6 feet in height. She quickly composed herself on the way back down, and took off after the mouse. She didn’t catch it however. She, in fact, hasn’t caught anything at all!

When I was growing up, it seemed we always had cats. And all the cats we had were bird chasers and mousers, and I even heard stories when I was young of one cat in particular who wouldn’t even let certain people into the house, like a watch dog! It was like  tradition to have very capable cats around. I remember some of our cats having kittens, and while raising them, they would go outside, catch a shrew or small mouse and bring it inside to release so her kittens could learn to hunt. When stepping outside to go to school or to go play, you would have to watch your step as there would be a row of decapitated shrews and mice lined up outside the door. I later learned cats did this to show appreciation to their owners, or something like that. Clearly, it was a display of some sort.

So you can imagine my surprise and bewilderment at Penny. In truth, all three of our cats. Granted, they were house cats strictly for a few years (except the time Penny got outside the week or so before she was scheduled to get fixed and gave birth to the other two we have – thankfully that will never happen again) but they’ve been going outside whenever they want to the last couple years and…. nothing. No decapitated vermin, no dead bird discoveries in the yard. Nothing. They just haven’t developed the killer instinct I’ve come to expect. Catch something – yes. Kill something – no.

Mosquitoes however, with their small size and soft bodies, fall prey to Penny fairly often. She’s a good cat though, and sometimes shows us a little love. I still don’t think it gives her the right to lay on the kitchen table though. Maybe if she delivered a mouse or two to my door, I could let this annoying habit go. ….. probably not though, ’cause, if you think about it,  that would just be kinda gross.

Anyway, thanks for dropping by.


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