Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Cat Killers

I saw a report the other day about firemen in the US having to rescue a Mountain Lion from a tree.  How it had come to be stuck there, nobody seemed to know.  Now, apart from the fact that cats are never really stuck up trees - they always find their way down of their own accord if you ignore their attention-seeking - it seems quite obvious to me as to what it was doing there.  Clearly, it was hiding from homicidal joggers who might decide to try and throttle it with their bare hands.  For that was the previous Mountain Lion related story dominating the press.  For days, everywhere I looked there were headlines about how this guy had variously bashed this cat over the head with rocks, then strangled it.  None of them seemed to make clear his motivation.  I was left thinking that perhaps that's just what this guy did: run around looking for Mountain Lions to murder.  Eventually, I found that his excuse was that the cat had attacked him and that he was merely defending himself.  Yeah.  The last time I ever heard of a Mountain Lion attacking a human was when a stuffed one mauled Robert Mitchum in Track of the Cat.

My suspicion that there were people going around picking fights with big cats (OK, I know that, technically, Mountain Lions - or cougars, or pumas, to give them some of their other names - aren't actually big cats, but in fact the biggest of the small cats, you know what I mean), was reinforced by hearing reports of a tiger at a UK wildlife park dying after a fight.  The use of the term 'a fight' conjured up visions of the beast being involved in some kind of bar room brawl which got out of hand.  I thought maybe it had slinked into the lounge bar, the way that the cats do, for a quick pint and unexpectedly found itself in a ruck where its claws turned out to be no match for a broken bottle.  Perhaps it was accused of spilling someone's pint.  Or eating their dog.  Or moulting its fur on someone's jacket.  Who knows.  All we know is that the end result was fatal.  Then, incredibly, there was a report of a second tiger going the same way!  Perhaps this one bought it in a street fight, I speculated.  During an attempted mugging, maybe.  All I knew was that it clearly wasn't safe for tigers to walk the streets of Britain.  Then it came to light that both cats had died in fights with other tigers at their respective wildlife parks.  Whether broken bottles or knives were involved wasn't clear.



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