A Cat’s Tale

A Cat’s Tale

Meet Boomer, an African serval living on Washington’s Palouse prairie

The 30-pound wildcat, an African serval, has an unusual bond with his owner. | Photo by Young Kwak.

Boomer is pacing.

With the carcass of a small, quail-sized bird clamped in his jaw, the lanky, black-spotted African serval is highly alert to the movements and sounds all around him: dead grass rustling in a spring breeze, the faint mews of a house cat in the distance. His short tail twitches and bristles.

Once he senses it’s safe, and that nothing is going to snatch away his meal, the big-eared cat stops in a corner of his enclosure. With the feathered carcass still in his teeth, Boomer vigorously shakes his head and flings the bird into the air, not unlike his domestic counterparts do when playing with a toy, or a small dead animal.

After tossing it around a few more times, the 1-year-old serval crouches down and begins gnawing the small chicken apart. Tiny bones snap and grind against Boomer’s teeth, audible over the Palouse wind. The 30-pound cat devours the entire bird in a few minutes as his owner, Anya Spielberg, looks on.

“Boomer, you even ate the head!” Spielberg says to him in surprise.

Meeting Boomer was a highlight of my writing career thus far. | Photo by Young Kwak 

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