Riley likes the SO. The feeling is mutual. When the SO is sitting on the couch Riley will go and sit by him. Last night Riley was lounging with one leg extended off the edge and his head drooping. He was doing a great feline impersonation of a slouchy teenage thug.
The SO carries on conversations with Riley. Last night he observed that the reason they were so bonded is that they were the two f**kups in the house. Riley seemed to agree. They are the ones who do stupid things sometimes and get in trouble. They decided it was because they were boys. (Ozzie is a boy bird but he can’t get in much trouble when he’s caged most of the time.)
Then the conversation went to hunting. I wasn’t paying much attention at this point. They were discussing mice and then birds. The SO started encouraging bird killing. Now he and I have had this conversation before. I can spout off the facts about outdoor cats killing songbirds and even extinctions in history due to cat predation. I don’t want to have outside cats for that reason. I just have cats who flat out refuse to play along with my plans.
So I told him not to encourage him to kill birds. He hadn’t brought me a bird all summer and he was such a good boy for that. Then I heard the SO whisper, “God will make more birds, Riley.” I gave up.
That would have been the end of it except this morning less than 12 hours after that conversation I found Riley playing with something in the garage. Riley’s not a stone cold killer like Powder. He plays with things until they don’t play anymore. Then he walks away in disgust. He saw me and left it. I walked over and asked what he had. You guessed it. A bird. He had been throwing through the air when I found him. I think he was trying to make it fly again. He really just wants things to play with him. I cussed him and the SO and then cussed them both again when I realized that the bird was still alive so I was going to have to doctor it.
I picked up the bird and gave it a quick exam. It seemed mostly stunned. It was looking at me very calmly. I threw Riley in the house and put the bird in a protected place.
In this photo he had moved from lateral recumbency to sitting up. Maybe he’ll be ok.
I called the SO and told him to quit being a bad influence on the kids. He tried the “Riley’s a cat and he doesn’t understand English” defense but I’m not buying it. He doesn’t catch a bird all summer and then 12 hours after the “bring me a bird” talk he has one in the garage and I’m supposed to think it is a coincidence? The SO promised to have another talk about restricting hunting to rodents.
I told Riley to just wait until his father gets home. Knowing them it will probably be one of those “Good job! Now tell your mother I yelled at you” talks.
The bird died.
Sometimes this time of year I just leave the door open for Snowball to come and go whenever she needs to go to the bathroom. I just heard a cat mewing softly. It sounded like one of my barn cats so I got up to see if she had wandered in the open door.
Nope, instead I find Riley sprawled on the kitchen floor. Next to him is a mouse spinning around like a demented top. Riley gave me this smug look like, “You wanted rodents…” I scooped up the mouse and deposited him outside where he ran off. I think he has an injured front right leg so I felt bad about turning him out to possibly die but it is better than Riley torturing him in the kitchen.