the dirt on Moose.

So yesterday I’m sittin’ outside the building in my armless lime-green camping chair with my laptop mindin’ my own business when up the road comes a trotting Moose, something dangling from his mouth.

Since Moose is an alpha cat and I’ve witnessed his hunting instinct before, I can only suspect it’s not good for whatever’s between his teeth.

He struts nearby and I spot his victim, a baby bird, clinging to life, its beak slowly opening and shutting. I take the path of non-interference and let nature run its course.

Moose deposits his prey on the ground and begins to do something I’ve seen him do only once before, with a lizard. He begins batting the bird about, then takes hold of its legs between his teeth and starts flinging it into the air. It turns, flips, lands, then he does it again, over and over, tossing always from the feet for a good spin. It’s a whole other side of Moose, an evil side.

Eventually he loses interest and leaves the bird behind. What I mean to say is, he leaves the bird behind for me to take care of. Isn’t that the way with cats – they have the fun and leave you with the dirty work?

So I draw the slotted spoon from the kitchen, dig a bed into the earth beside a rose bush and gently lay the baby bird to rest.

I flash to the time I found a large pigeon, dead, alongside one of the properties at my last job. Feathers strewn everywhere and nearby was a window and behind it a cat so suspected the culprint.

Ever the highly curious cat, Moose makes his way over to check out what I’m doing or possibly to reclaim his prize (he won’t) or pay his last respects.

About an hour later, his owner, Paul, and I cross paths. I tell him about the bird and the evil Moose. I know from a prior encounter that Moose often brings home a capture, leaving it on the bedroom floor for Paul, blood and feathers spread here and there.

“That must be kinda gross for you,” I say.

“It is. Especially when it’s dark and I step into it and go ewwwwwwwwww …”

I shoot a condemning glance Moose’s way. Okay I don’t. But neither Paul nor I are overly thrilled with the outcomes of his instinctual drive.

I tell Paul that I chase Moose off when I see him honing in on the birds gathered for the seed I provide daily. "We can't control his drive or every action but it ain't gonna happen on my watch," I tell Paul, nodding his agreement.

“He’s a real character,” we agree – as does the entire neighborhood familiar with this Zen samurai creature. Moose gets around. He’s rather personable while also very independent. He greets passersby with ease. Some people he likes, some he doesn't. I once saw him stand back from one resident.

He wanders – far. Once I bumped into him in the park across the street, about three blocks down from his house. Acting totally casssh, like la de da, the world is my oyster.

Paul told me he’s had to bail Moose out from the shelter more than a few times – and it's expensive – because he’s so friendly and sometimes far from home and people think he's lost and take him. Now he's got a name tag with address so hopefully they'll get the hint that he's fine where and as he is.

“Moose, he’s not too playful is he?” I say. Paul concurs. “The most playful I’ve seen him is battin’ a wadded ball of paper or the cord on the blinds a few times.”

“But he loooooves catnip,” Paul offers. “Loves it. Rolls in it. Eats it.”

I can picture that.

“He’s so like a dog,” Paul comments.

“Yes!! He soo is!!!!” I’ve had that very thought so many times! I’m sure that's a huge reason why we get along and connect as we do. I love animals but I'm not a cat person, as many know. He's got cat characteristics but inside thinks he’s a dog.

“So Moose, he’s a real nutcase sometimes,” I continue. “He'll start running all over the apartment, back and forth back, like a maniac, like he’s possessed.”

“That’s how he got his name," shares Paul.

“Whaddya mean?”

Insert: Paul has a giant apartment – about six times the size of mine.

“Before I put the cat door in, he’d be in there with no way out. And he’d run up and down the apartment, one end to the other, really fast, back and forth. Will, the neighbor below, said it sounded like moose.”

Voila. Moose. He’s a character.



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