Monday, January 31, 2011

When Animals Fight Wrap Up

And the winner is......

Never, ever bet against a feral cat.  Our scenario was as follows; cat and owl in a 10x16 room, with two 16" end tables, a 4' bookshelf, and an iron (or other ferrous metal) coat rack.  It was a fight to the death.  the cat wins.  If you guessed so, good job.  If not, go stare at the sun.  Here is why:

First off, cats are some of the fiercest hunters in the animal kingdom.  Everyone has heard the term "cat-like quickness."  Has anyone ever heard of "owl-like ferocity?"  Nope.  Nothing against the owl, but he was out of his league here.  When I was a kid my parents had a lake cabin with lots of friendly chipmunks that we used to feed sunflower seeds.  We brought our cat with us one weekend, and she wiped out the whole colony in less than 24 hours- I'm not kidding, there were at least 10 carcasses lying about. 

Here is how it went down, and why.
The cat saunters into the room and begins looking around for something of interest.  Don't worry, curiosity won't kill this cat.  The owl immediately spots the cat, at the same instant the door slams shut.  He prepares to swoop down from his 6' perch.  As he glides down, the cat hears the rush of wings and looks up for the source.  He spots the owl and makes a break for the end table.  The owl catches a clump of hair in his talons from the cats rear, but comes up empty.  His chance for victory just went from "good" to "horseshit."  An owl swoops down on its prey from above, relying on speed and stealth to deliver a blow, initially with its talons, then with its beak.  On the ground, against a predator of near equal size, he is stewed.  For all you owl lovers, picture this scenario- who would win a fight between a cat and an owl that can't fly?  Right.  Here is a bit more info for you- I used to be an Air Force pilot, and I have a solid understanding of the physics of flight.  An owl in a dive has the same limitations as a helicopter trying to land while heavy on a hot day at high altitude.  He reaches a point where he is committed to landing, and has no ability to pull up and take off again.  Flying off a 6' perch, the owl cannot build up enough velocity to give himself any option but to land.  His lift vector is pointed down, and he can't flap his wings fast enough to avoid sinking.  Holy cow, I am a huge nerd.  
So we have an owl that made his pass at the cat, and missed.  He is now playing the cats game.  Our owl, being both hungry and used to being the apex predator in his part of the forest, presses the attack.  Initially, there is a lot of hissing and spitting as they claw and peck at each other with the cat still under the end table.  Eventually, the owl presses forward and ends up with his head under the table as well, and he might have just realized he is shit out of options.  The cat leaps, able to ignore the owls talons, as he has no room to employ them.  The beak is a factor, but much like a boxing match, the cat relies on angles and distance.  He drives his shoulder into the owls neck, clasps his paws around its neck, and knocks it off its feet.  He then bites into the owls neck, and begins kicking a mud hole in the owls belly with his rear claws.  Soon, he is able to drive his teeth deep enough into the owls neck that he gets into the central nervous system, and it is game over.  The cat eats his fill, then takes a long nap.  Lazy bastard.  Speaking of which, here is a picture of Poe, our 22 pound cat:

                         He is a fine specimen, isn't he?  The sweetest, dumbest cat ever. 

Next week, we shall try out a 14' great white shark vs. an adult male polar bear in 4 feet of placid water.


Mr. F


  1. i like the nerdy side notes as i didn't think about the lack of room to lift back off. well played

  2. crap, i didn't get a chance to ask questions. aren't owls silent fliers? where is the coat rack in relation to the door?

    it all happened so fast. i'm not convinced...