The Food Chain: EXPLAINED

Nature is cruel

Why DO cats like eating fish so much? Yes, their evolutionary ancestors must have hunted to survive, but fish? I can’t imagine any relative of the domestic cat having the attention span to sit around on a riverbank, trailing a paw in the water for hours on end. Five minutes and it’d be off following a bit of dandelion fluff or licking itself under a bush.

No, the idea that a fish is a cat’s natural prey is about as logical as the idea that they must like spaghetti because so many ancient cats lived near wheatfields. Well, that’s logical if you imagine that the wheatfields were often buffeted by strong gusts, blowing the crop into a neighbouring FIELD OF FALLING ANVILS where it got crushed, then onto a nearby ice floe where it happened to get wet enough to become dough and then got accidentally rolled on by some passing polar bears getting dry after a swim. And some poor kitty still has to make the bastard sauce.

We all know they like fast-moving shiny things (WHO DOESN’T?), but there’s nothing fast-moving or shiny about the slurry that comes out of a pouch of gourmet cat food or the brown-grey flakes in a can of tuna. So by rights Puss should be craving a daily risotto stirred through with lashings of nature’s fastest and shiniest creatures, the lovely silverfish.

And what do the silverfish eat to get so shiny? Glue, tapestries, the corners of photographs and bits of discarded hair and dandruff, says Wikipedia. Which, as you couldn’t make it up, means you may as well say they eat mercury. Metal-eating creatures aren’t common, and mercury’s deadly poisonous, but I think we can all easily picture some sort of illicit silverfish speakeasy they can sneak off to after a hard day’s cardboard-chewing for a drop of the silver stuff. They know it’s bad for them, but they can’t resist the gleam; like humans with a blue Bacardi Breezer or a big sniff of poppers.

Speaking of our own ridiculous cravings, let’s not laugh at the other animals’ eating habits quite so readily. We’re the species that came up with oxtail soup, after all (note to readers outside the UK: yes). We take an ENORMOUS shaggy lumbering animal, and someone, a nice person at Heinz I assume, keeps hordes of them breeding, presumably filling up vast aircraft hangars all over the country, in order to harvest ONLY their delicious tasty tails. And that is the logic of a cat.

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