My neighbour Fernando and his cousin Antonio have been helping me build walls (landscaping rather than fortifying). Tonight we were talking about foxes and although I’ve held onto the faint hope that my dear Bob cat who disappeared in March is suffering from amnesia and enjoying roast pork twice a day, I let slip that sometimes, occasionally, it crosses my mind that it’s not impossible a fox had taken him. There’s a massive silver grey fox that hangs around this hamlet; I often see him on the track in the beam of the headlights if I’m driving late at night.
‘Oh no!’ they said in unison. ‘You’d have found bits of him scattered around.’
‘No, for sure it was a búho real, an eagle owl,’ said Fernando.
My heart sank. There are eagle owls left and right of the house, hooting on and on, night after night, and I’d let Bob out around 4am on a full moon night.
‘They are completely silent, swoop down and pick up big stuff,’ said Antonio. He mimed an owl picking up something like a small cat. ‘No, it’s sure it was an owl.’
I had to turn away because my eyes were full of tears. I still have the psycho cat Joan, but I just loved that Bob from the moment he arrived. He chose to go with me and stay with me wherever I was, (obviously except that last time). So while I understand nature is all about predators and prey, and the owl is a beautiful thing, I don’t want to hear it hooting and hunting for quite some time.