Saturday, April 02, 2005

The religion of the cat species

I saw something several nights ago that reminded me of the cruelty of life.

A stray cat ventured inside our house. It was intent on feasting on the leftovers left on the dinner table when it was discovered and scared away. A shoo sent the white stray scampering for the open door where it plunged right into the maw of our three mongrel but big dogs.

It never had a chance. It tried to run away but was cornered and the three dogs pounced upon it like it was a rabbit. I heard the commotion outside and looked. A dog had its canines buried on the neck of the cat while the other dog had bitten it on its rear thighs. The dogs were pulling on the ends they have managed to clamp their jaws. They were trying to tear it apart. Sometimes, when one dog's hold slips, the other dog would thrash the graceful feline torso side to side, up and down. The cat was flung like a rag doll.

I watched fascinated as the dogs mauled the struggling and fighting cat until it lay limp, still and dead. I could have stopped it. But why should I? It was our dogs doing their job isn't it? The cat was nothing more than a stray. This is probably the same cat that forages for food in the kitchen, upsetting and breaking the plates and glasses on the kitchen table.

When the cat stopped struggling, the dogs lost interest too. They stared at the dead cat with curious eyes but when it showed no movement the dogs left the scene of death one by one. They were panting very hard. The smell of blood and flesh seems to have excited them very much.

Dogs were bred from wolves by generations of humans. They are a product of genetic manipulation that have spanned thousands of years. I know this. Still, the atavistic behavior that recalled their wolf pack days disturbed me somewhat. These are the same dogs that would whimper and bark outside my door whenever they want to be petted. These are the same dogs that would wag their tails and stare with excited eyes whenever I arrive home from work. It was jolting to realize that these same dogs can be just as cruel as they are loyal and sweet.

As I gathered the remains of the cat and prepared to dispose of it, I kept thinking of what cats may have been talking about if they can communicate with each other. What would their attitude be towards dogs? Would they consider dogs and the humans who love them a natural part of this world? Or would they look upon dogs as evil hounds and their masters as evil Gods?

Would the cats have a religion where dogs are the devil? I wonder what part humans would play in this cat religion?


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