Monday, April 21, 2008

Big Cat

I was bellied up to the bar at Black Rock in Roscoe Village when my good friend Paul asked, “Did you hear about the Cougar?” My mind immediately pictured a woman in her early forties ready to pounce the nearest young buck, but I quickly realized he was referring to a Mountain Lion. I responded that I hadn’t (I might be the only one in Chicago who hadn’t). Paul then relayed a story about an actual Cougar that had been gunned down by the authorities in Roscoe Village.  

Read about it here

This falls in line with a number of strange Chicago occurrences that just shouldn’t be. I yap about them in earlier posts, so I won’t rehash, but lets just say I find all this to be curious. In general I welcome the bizarre, and as long as people aren’t banged up I’d prefer weird things to happen all the time, but this animal death is a real tragedy.

I imagine the cat took a wrong turn one day while romping atop land that was familiar. Maybe there just wasn’t any more food to be found in his stomping grounds. Maybe there was something wrong with him. I don’t know, but I bet he was taken to a lab where people with knives were eager to learn more about him and why he wound up on city streets. He must have been very scared running from one alien place to the next in the hope of finding a place that felt more comfortable. It’s likely he hadn’t eaten in a while and that surely didn’t help his ability to get his bearings. For a big cat like that to find its way into the city is unbelievable. His natural surroundings have to be many, many miles away. It’s possible that he’d never seen a car or a human before his trip to the big city. Maybe he did most of the travel at night and kept hidden during the day while unaware people went about their days. It’s also possible that he escaped from an owner who kept him as a pet – which, to me, is ridiculous.

It seems to me, though, that the authorities could have tranquilized him in the hopes of saving his life. Maybe there wasn’t the time and the folks on the scene had to consider the possibility that put in the wrong position, he would have swiped off the face of an unsuspecting citizen. I know I don’t think to peer around corners to make sure a 150lb cat isn’t poised, back arched ready to rip me into pieces. I’m sure our cities finest weren’t, understandably, prepared to deal with this situation in the best way possible.

Anyway, lets hope this Cougar isn’t the first of many large cats that decide the big city has some appealing qualities. The city has many looming issues – we don’t need the threat of being Cougar prey. And Cougars could certainly do without the warped reality we people have whipped up for ourselves.

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