We are vegetarian for ethical reasons and are raising Avinash with the same values. We are mindful to teach him that we made a choice to eat this way and he understands why. Simply, because “animals are our friends.” We also teach him that we are not critical or judgmental about meat-eating. Nam and I use to eat meat. It is simply a choice to or not to.
Today at the country house we were staying in Maremma, our favorite house cat decided to bring Avinash a present. This kitty befriended us within minutes of our arrival and kept tabs on us even when we were in the shower. It was especially fond of Avinash since he never tired of playing or working on the cat’s insatiable itchies.
This cat showed it’s appreciation to Avinash this morning by bringing him a present while we were at the breakfast table. A dead baby bird. The cat then proceeded to join us for breakfast by eating the baby bird.
I knew Avinash would witness something like this, but I though it would be later in our trip in the Masai Mara watching a lion eating a zebra and having a distance buffer that might make it seem more like watching a documentary.
Avinash was sad and that was hard to see. He was truly sad for the bird that he wanted to see fly and deduced that because it was so young it needed it’s mom and dad to protect it. Where were they?? he asked.
Nam and I explained the natural diet for the cat and the kindness of the cat wanting to show Avinash the meal. I know Avinash understood, but he was deeply moved by seeing the helpless baby bird disappearing into the cat’s belly. While we were talking to Avinash more about why what the cat was doing was normal it went on to find another baby bird. The sight was complete with blood and body parts.
I know this has affected Avinash and he is still processing it. It’s hard to see him struggle with understanding how the food chain works but it’s comforting to see his genuine compassion.