Thursday, November 10, 2016

That Age-Old Rivalry

Overheard at Reetha’s bar the other night:

“Yeah,” Alf the bobcat said, and took a deep swig of his beer. “It’s official. Cats rule.”

Gordo, the wolf on the barstool beside him, snorted. “In your dreams, Puss in Boots.”

“You doggies think you’re all that. But I got the proof. I was watching this show on PBS … ”

“Oooo. Intellectual.”

“About cats. About how we took over the world.”

“Not any world I live in.”

“Guess again. We started in Asia and branched out. We’re everywhere now. Europe, Africa, Australia. Maybe not Antarctica, but who the scat wants to live there? And wherever we go, we’re in charge.”

“You mean all the places that canines got to first?”

“Yeah, those were lousy neighborhoods until we showed up. Y’know what the show said? When cats came to North America, at least three species of canine went extinct. When it came to hunting, you tailwaggers couldn’t keep up with us.”

“More like they died to get away from the smell.”

“You want to talk smell, do you? Fine. We bury our scat. You just dump yours wherever. You want to know what ticks me off? I’m up in the hills, stalking a rabbit, and alla sudden my paw comes down on this—I don’t even want to think about it. It’s unsanitary, is what it is. Clean the hell up after yourselves.”

“Watch where you’re walking.”

“You watch where you’re walking. Saw this video of a jaguar killing a caiman. That’s a type of crocodile, Mr. I’m Too Good to Watch TV. When’s the last time a wolf pulled down a croc and ate it?”

“Not that many crocodiles here in the Rockies. I doubt if they taste any good, either. No offense there, Irwin.”

“None taken.”

“And we’re adaptable,” Alf pressed doggedly—or was that cattidly?—on. “There are cougars living in the Hollywood hills, right outside of LA. How many canines have packs that close to humans, huh?"

Gordo set down his beer and turned to face the bar. “Hey, Nolan!”

A coyote shifter in a cowboy hat looked up from his game of pool. “Yo.”

“How many coyotes in the Hollywood hills? Real ones, not shifters.”

“Hell, I dunno. Scads. They’re down in the suburbs, too, eating humans’ pets. You ever eat poodle? It’s not half bad.”

“Eating pets, huh?” Gordo grinned triumphantly. “Does that include house cats?”

Nolan thought it over. “When they can catch ‘em, I guess. Little bastards are too quick, and too good at climbing trees.”

“But I’ll bet there are no cougars roaming the streets,” he pressed, ignoring Alf’s smirk. “Right?”

“Cougars don’t need to hit suburbia,” Alf said. “They can feed themselves. Make a real kill. No garbage cans or house pets for a cat, no sir.” Both turned to Nolan for confirmation.

Nolan shrugged. “What can I say? We’re opportunists.”

“Humans like us better, too,” Alf said. “More people own cats than dogs.”

“Aha!” Gordo jabbed his finger in Alf’s face. “Domestic cats. Cats who sold themselves into slavery for a stinky can of tuna and a scratch behind the ears. The proud legacy of the feline race.”

“As opposed to canines, who did the same thing first?” Alf polished off his beer and wiped his mouth with a flourish. “There’s the big difference right there. Every ‘domestic’ cat on the planet is one kill away from going right back to the wild. The wolf’s poofy little descendants gave up the hunt in exchange for a collar and leash. We never did. We’re exactly where we’ve always been, at the top of the predator ladder. Game, set and match.”

“Not quite. Cats are still solitary. Canines run in packs.” Gordo gestured. Six wolves got up from the tables they’d been sitting at and stalked up to the bar, surrounding Alf and Gordo. “Strength in numbers, don’t you know.”

Alf glanced upward, at the exposed beams overhead, and calculated whether or not he had the time or leg strength for a leap. “Scat,” he said.

No comments: