Last week Virtute got into his first real fight. We had been feeding the clowder of stray cats around our house and inch by inch they started to become territorial. While Gumption was pretty curious, Virtute was very anxious. Eventually one of them, the one called “Lunchbox”, charged at the window and attacked Virtute through the screen. It was frightening, but in the end the only casualties were the screen itself and a swath of the other cats’ fur in Virtute’s finger nails.
Once Virtute regrouped, I asked him his thoughts on his first fight. His response: “I don’t think what I did was proud or noble. To be honest it was mostly out of fear. I had attempted to communicate with them, but I realized immediately that the structure of our lives made it very difficult. I realize getting food for them is tough, but I also envy their freedom. It’s so complicated.”
I asked Virtute if he could do it all over again, would he do the same thing. He turned away and then spoke calmly, “The histories and structures that put us in the places that we are today are impossible to change. But the choices we make in terms of what side we fight on and what future we dream of is ours to make. Those strays aren’t the enemy. It is a system that considers some of us wild and others domesticated that is the problem. I’m going to shut my eyes now and dream of those other possibilities.”