Agriculture

The Hunting Cats of Switzerland

Big game hunting is a popular pastime for urban Canadians. Every fall men in camo gear pile $60,000 of military gear into their trucks, leave big cities, and head north to shoot a moose, as if it were the Battle of Leningrad. Ah, but luckily there is another way. Over in Wald, Switzerland, the wilderness comes down through the city in the form of meadows of grass and flowers blowing in the early summer breeze, and even though once again men come with machines and have their way with it, it works out a little differently…

Mowing at 30 Kilometres per Hour

Zooooom. As they say, Time is Money.

Such rip-roaring fun, of course, disturbs the local inhabitants a little. To give you an idea of what that looks like, here’s a happy dog and its minders getting a bit of early morning shock…

Jumping Out of the Way

Note how the dog is definitely not taking chances here.

So, that’s not what humans like to see all the time: being hunted down by their own machinery. The consequences, though, are clear.

Horizontal Meadow

Just having a little sleep in the sun.

This is, however, not a dead landscape, although it is headed straight to Swiss cheese and chocolate on sale at department stores and grocery stores throughout the Okanagan at Christmas, because as soon as the big blue machine has finished its mad Formula 1 race around the field and the earth takes a big breath, the real activity begins. It starts quietly…

The First Adventurer Arrives on the Field of Battle

You never know what you will find if you look. That’s the trick. Caw.

And pretty soon, the main battle group arrives. They pour out of all the houses scattered through the meadows, proving that even though humans might think that the meadows wind through the houses, it’s just not so. The houses are set out in the meadows, like bird blinds. And so the great hunt of summer begins…

A Proud Hunting Cat of the Zurich Overland

All winter, the mice ruled here. Now the old order is changing.

In Wald, where there’s one cat there’s always more. The whole grassy town is rich with cats, and that nice Thai Takeaway place that opens for coffee on Sunday mornings when everyone else is closed. And these cats aren’t shy.

A Hunting Group Begins to Form

From a cat’s perspective, it’s very handy to keep humans around. It means you don’t have to wander through a jungle of grass. Instead, you can just step right over it and not even get wet. Bonus.

And who wants to get wet, right? OK, maybe the humans, who are off in the creek valleys inventing fire and grilling marshmallows to death while their children splash and turn blue, but the cats? No, they have work to do.

Black Cat Joins the Party

Note the elegant balance with the tail. Full marks.

It’s an intriguing ballet. I do, however, have the feeling that we are being watched.

Wald Graveyard Cat

Best to keep on one’s best behaviour.

With every movement, we humans represent our species. I hope cats notice us when we do it well. Where would we be if we were alone on this planet?

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