Our Wild Animal Friends

In California, the world’s only captive great white shark is swimming around an aquarium tank. She’s got a bruised nose from bashing the glass. She’s recently made fresh sashimi of two tankmates. The marine biologists who take care of her have the nerve to stand in front of news cameras and act surprised. I immediately thought of catnip.

Like many of our former stray friends, Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul, is an indoor wild animal. I used to enjoy discovering he’d foraged in the garbage can and torn apart chicken carcasses as I slept. It made me think his sojourn among the outside cats might have been filled with slow-moving pigeons, possibly in orange sauce. Still, he’s not tame. One night I gave him some catnip to roll around in. About fifteen minutes later, I remembered that catnip makes him crazy. My memory is terrible, but it improved temporarily when I looked over the side of the couch and took a claw to the face. See, *I* may forget who’s bent on stealing my soul, but like Pepperidge Farm, the little black cat remembers. So yes, my hair is a vivid red and since Friday my wild ideas feel smarter and wilder than they have in ages. So here’s one: some creatures by their very natures do not belong to us. We live alongside them and forget to our peril that they’ve got their own lives. Next time I dish out the catnip I’ll keep one eye on the cat. The shark belongs in a deep ocean, scaring surfers and making little sharks – or on a Japanese menu, if you will. From this we might also learn that our own lives are best conducted without tourists and voyeurs. You know. Unless they’re tasty.

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