a prowl of cats in the night

I was woken in the wee shall hours by cats growling on the verandah. It wasn’t the wailing and wauling of the queen calling the neighbours’ toms – no need, she’s already pregnant again – and it sounded quite unfriendly, so I got up to check there were no forasteros about.

cat with small rat

No one ran when I opened the door: the shadows were apparently all members of our own semi-feral tribe. But the growling continued.

Then I identified the sound as the possessive crooning they make when they have caught something and are warning the others away.


I couldn’t see what the prey was, but I think it was rather smaller than the one in the picture. Given the fact that the hunter there is un gato pequeño who was undernourished as a kitten until he joined our tribe, I think that was una rata en toda regla. More recently I’ve only seen them with ratones.

I’ve mentioned Spanish diminutive forms in the past, and how you can take a word like taza (a cup) and make tazón (a bowl). So it’s never seemed logical to me that a ratón should be so much smaller than a rata. (Though I have had it explained to me that “Las formas femeninas suelen ser más grandes.”)

Of course, to make sure that everyone knows you’re talking about a small mouse, you can use the diminutive form ratoncito. Anyway, whatever it was the cats caught last night, I hope they have cleared up the evidence.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

5 thoughts on “a prowl of cats in the night”

  1. Anyway, whatever it was the cats caught last night, I hope they have cleared up the evidence.

    Be careful what you wish for. If they don’t, from time to time, leave an unenthusiastically nibbled frog’s eyeball on your pillow, they’ve stopped caring about you.

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