But first, the backstory.
One of these days I’ll learn how to write one of these posts without a long, drawn-out explanation of the background and a bunch of tangents, but apparently today is not that day.
Where to start? I suppose the best place to begin is with the people in the rental next door.
A few months ago, the woman brought home a cat with four kittens that had been dumped at one of the local grocery stores. Two of the kittens disappeared almost immediately; I don’t know if she gave them away or what.
Then a few weeks later, one of the other two got run over.
And that left Mama Kitty and Spot. The neighbors said Spot’s name was Patches, but I had an indoor cat named Patches, so her name was Spot whenever she came over to my house.
I felt bad for Mama Kitty and Spot. Their owners seemed to feed all their animals out of one bowl, so Mama Kitty and Spot had to compete with a Basset Hound, a big black mixed-breed, and two or three Chihuahuas if they wanted anything to eat.
So I began feeding them table scraps in a pan on my front porch. I don’t feed my minpin table scraps because it makes messy things happen on the carpet, so rather than put it in the trash (where the cats would no doubt tear into it when I put the trash out by the road Tuesday mornings), I gave it to them.
Mama Kitty and Spot were very friendly to me, but Spot, even when she was only a few weeks old, absolutely LOATHED Tiny. She’d lay her ears back and growl and spit and hiss every time he came near her.
But that’s one of those irrelevant tangents.
I noticed in early spring that Mama Kitty began gaining weight and got all lemon-shaped. I knew that meant she was getting ready to extrude another batch of kittens, so I began feeding her even more.
I never got to see the kittens; when the time came, the neighbors took her in the house. The woman told me she had seven. After a week or so, they began letting Mama Kitty out for a little while each day, but the kittens never came with her.
But Spot stopped by every afternoon like clockwork.
I’d sit on a chair on the porch and she’d jump up in my lap and demand to be petted.
I noticed around the first of the month the neighbors began moving stuff out of the house. Through the grapevine I heard they were moving because their three kids had outgrown the house.
They hadn’t paid much attention to Spot since the kittens had been born, so I thought maybe they’d leave her behind when they moved, since they knew I’d take care of her.
But they didn’t.
About a week ago, they loaded her up in the van, and I don’t think they’ve been back since.
So that left me with a problem -- what to do with the table scraps.
I didn’t want to put them in the trash, because after a couple of days it would stink up the house and attract bugs. I knew there were a few tomcats that stopped by every few nights to steal Mama Kitty and Spot’s food, so I kept putting it out on the porch in the evenings, more out of habit than anything else.
And every morning, it would be gone.
The tomcats were sneaking in at night and eating it, I surmised.
But I surmised wrong.
This afternoon, I put out some sauerkraut and Crockpot baby-back ribs and a piece of grocery-store fried chicken from a few days ago that was probably still edible, but wasn’t all that appetizing when it was new.
I looked out a few minutes later to see a Blue Jay eating the sauerkraut.
And a little later still, I found a swarm of starlings and grackles (unpleasant, oily little birds, those) eating the ribs and fighting over the piece of chicken.
Because of me, the birds have acquired a taste for meat, including bird meat.
Can human meat be far behind?
And that is how I came to realize that I am in a prologue to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, and that I am the cause of it all.
Tippi Hedren’s fans and relatives are gonna be pissed.