Bastard Owls

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Fernando and his cousin Antonio have been helping me build walls (landscaping rather than fortifying the land). Tonight we talked about foxes. Although I’ve held onto the hope my dear Bob cat who disappeared in March will return after recovering from his bout of amnesia, I let slip that it does cross my mind occasionally there is the possibility he might have met a fox. There’s a massive silver grey fox in the neighbourhood. I often see him on the track in the beam of the headlights when driving late at night.
‘Oh no!’ they said in unison. ‘You’d have found bits of the cat scattered around.’
‘For sure,’ says Fernando, ‘it was a búho real, an eagle owl’.
My heart plummeted. There are eagle owls left and right of the house, hooting on and on, night after night, and I’d let stupid, simple Bob out at 4am on a full moon night.
‘They are completely silent when they fly and swoop,’ said Antonio. He mimed an owl picking up something like a small cat. ‘Sure it was an owl’.
I turned away because my eyes had filled with tears. Just a cat. I still have the psycho Joan, but I loved that soft Bob from the moment he arrived. He elected to go with me and stay beside me and I enjoyed his company as much as a person possibly could enjoy the company of a thick cat. So while I understand nature is all about predators and prey, and the owl is a beautiful thing, I don’t like hearing it hooting and hunting at the moment.

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