SANTA ELENA, Puntarenas — One of the two sleepy gray cats at my hotel was looking unusually perky, and when I came closer I saw why: A pretty little black-and-white bird lay dead at its feet.
“Bad kitty,” I said.
But nature is red in tooth and claw, so I didn’t scold the cat much. After all, catching prey is how cats survived for millions of years, long before humans invented cat food.
The pretty little bird is probably not endangered, I reasoned, otherwise it wouldn’t have been common enough to fly within striking range of a common Costa Rican hotel cat.
The cat creepily played with its dead prey for a long time, batting it left and right and up in the air. It seemed to be amusing itself but also showing off, aware that it had a human audience.
The only thing the predator showed no interest in doing with its prey was eating it.
I’m sure this pampered cat knew where there was better food elsewhere.
Contact Karl Kahler at firstname.lastname@example.org.