Once there was a cat – a lady cat – who would spend her nights wandering the back alleys of her little town. She had a home to go back to – a loving home with plenty of food and a place to do her private business. It was an okay life, but she was getting bored of it all – the same alleys, the same characters, the same everything night after night. And so, on this particular night, she made the sudden and rash decision to leave it all behind.
“It totally goes against what I expect from myself, but what the hey!” she said, and started on her way.
By the time she made her way to the outskirts of town, it was almost dawn.
At the town limits sign, the lady cat was observed by a bird who was sitting on a telephone pole.
“Now this,” said the bird, “goes totally against what is ingrained in my psyche, but I think I’m gonna go talk to that cat.” The bird flew down and landed in front of the cat, who was momentarily stopped to clean her face.
“Do I need to be afraid of you?” asked the bird.
“Not unless you plan on doing me harm,” replied the cat.
Mutually deciding all was good, the two took the rest of the day getting to know each other, as they wandered beyond the town and into the woods. After hearing about the cat’s previous cozy living arrangements, the bird stated he couldn’t understand why she would ever give up such comforts.
“Comfort doesn’t equate to interesting,” she answered.
The two spent the next few days exploring the world together. They came upon a beautiful lake, and decided to rest there for a while.
“I’d flown over this lake a couple of times,” said the bird, “on my down down south or back from down south, but I never thought to stop here. It’s really quite lovely!”
The cat didn’t understand the concept of “down south” but didn’t let on, and just nodded in agreement about the loveliness of the lake.
The bird decided a fun thing to do would be to pick up stones in his beak – as big as he could carry – and then fly over the lake and drop them. He loved to watch the stones splash and break the calmness of the lake water. While he was doing this, the cat was attempting to catch fish by the lakeside, but just wasn’t fast enough.
“It’s your middle-class upbringing,” said the bird, landing beside the cat. “You can’t catch a fish because you never needed to catch a fish.”
“Maybe we could catch a fish together,” suggested the cat. “You pick up the biggest stone you can, hover over the side of the lake, here where it’s shallow, and when you see a fish drop the stone on the deeper side of the lake. The surprise will force the fish to swim closer to the shore, and I’ll be there waiting to pounce.”
“Sounds like a plan!”
It took them several attempts, and even more hours, to accomplish their task, but finally, the plan worked perfectly. They caught a fish and sat themselves down to enjoy the spoils of their efforts.
“This is the best meal I ever had”, said the cat.
“Because you caught it yourself. That’s why. Maybe, for the first time ever in your life, you earned it. That’s why it tastes so good.”
“Well, I did have help!”
“We do make a pretty good team! Who’d have thunk a bird and a cat could work together to achieve such greatness!”
As they continued to feast on the fresh fish – the fish they caught together – they began to make plans on other ways they could work together to make their lives infinitely better and full of purpose. They got very excited about the prospect of finding a barn somewhere, because such a barn would no doubt be filled with mice and rats, for the cat, and also grains and bugs, which better suited the bird.
So engrossed were they in their discussion that they had let their guards down to the environment around them.
Suddenly, an owl who thought she was a bear, swooped down on the pair and with the expertise and speed and conviction of the wild animal she was, killed the bird and the cat, even before they knew what was happening.
“Because that’s what bears do,” said the owl.