15

Moths are More than Just Good Eating

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As you know, we at Cheeseland pride ourselves as being pan-species. We recently received an email questioning that inclusivity. It read as follows:

“We are tired of being the subject of cat jokes about how much fun we are to chase and how good we tastes. Moths have feelings too. We have never seen anything in this space about insects of any type, spiders, worms, or anything of that nature. We would like you to rectify that situation.”

The email caught us by surprise. He was right; we had never written about that type of thing. Being a mammalian type of place, Cheeseland had never considered our six-legged neighbors. So we decided to set up an interview.

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We ran into a problem right away. The author of the email lived across the country. Apparently moths (and most insects) are unable to get Skype or other video communication tools. Something about a ban against “bugs” that gets lost in translation. They’ve had trouble convincing the companies that they are actual bugs, not software glitches. The short lifespan has its issues as well.

It seemed silly to travel that far to interview one moth when there are lots of them here. One night, we sent a couple of staffers to the park to find a moth or two to speak with. Unfortunately we had not thought the issue through, and our subjects were eaten before we had the interview.

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The next night, we invited a couple of moths to our office and put them in a cage to keep them safe. Apparently moths have short attention spans. They kept heading for the lights in the midst of answering questions. It wasn’t much of an interview, but here’s what we got.

Cheeseland: So, tell us about yourselves.

Moth: (silence)

Cheeseland: Don’t be shy.

We look more closely. These moths don’t have mouths! How are we supposed to interview them?

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Cheeseland: Can you move a wing if the answer is ‘yes’?

Moth dips one wing.

Cheeseland: Do you only come out at night?

Moth dips his wing.

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Cheeseland: It says here that moths live about five weeks, is that true?

No answer.

Cheeseland: Don’t know what a week is?

Moth dips his wing.

Cheeseland: So you pretty much fly around all night and that’s your life?

Moth dips his wing.

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Cheeseland: Are there a lot of you?

Moth dips his wing.

Cheeseland: Do they all look like you?

No answer.

Cheeseland: So there are lots of different types of moths?

Moth dips his wing.

Cheeseland: Do you have a girlfriend?

Moth dips his wing.

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Cheeseland: Any children?

Moth dips his wing.

Cheeseland: Congratulations. That’s wonderful.

We look at each other, unable to think of any more questions that might be answered with yes or no.

Cheeseland: It has been very nice speaking, or whatever, with you moths. We wish you well.

Moth dips his wing. We let them out of the cage. Before they got more than a few feet, there was a “pounce” sound. Then crunching. It didn’t end well for our guests.

After the interview, we had a group video-conference and came to a decision. Cheeseland is not the place for insects. They are just too tasty.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

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11

Cats: Enjoy Your Bugs Responsibly This Summer

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Every cat knows that summer is the time to enjoy bug hunting. Whether you chase the occasional fly that manages to get into the house or go on hunting sprees in the great outdoors, we have some tips to share.

Humans do not enjoy bugs the same way we do. If you bring a nice, crunchy moth over to share with your human, you will probably be disappointed. The response will be something along the lines of “Very nice, kitty. Please take your moth somewhere else to eat it.” Or “Take that disgusting thing away from me.” They will not even taste it.

Note: Do not eat Tiger Moths or caterpillars. They might make you sick.

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Some bugs look better than they taste. We have something around here that the humans call a “stink bug” It looks a little like a really big tick. They fly around like other bugs. But when you start to eat them, they taste awful, like they’re way past their “eat-by” date.

Some bugs should not be eaten at all. You know those annoying bugs that fly around at night with their own lights? The humans call them “fireflies”. They’re almost impossible to catch and it’s a good thing. That’s not really fire in their rears; it’s poison.

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Note: It is considered poor etiquette to catch one and offer it to a dog. Many dogs will eat anything.

Then there are those nasty things that sting. The humans call them “bees, hornets, and wasps.” Although they are usually just a pain in the nose or paw; they can kill some cats. They are poisonous to those cats and can cause them to stop breathing. That is never a good thing.

There is also something called a “fire ant.” You can probably step on one and be OK. But they can also cause some cats to stop breathing. And being stung by a bunch of them will do the same thing to any of us.

Note: We recommend you stay away from anything the humans call “fire”. Except, of course, that toasty thing they have inside during the winter. Sleeping in front of that is a cat’s right. The human’s job is to keep it safe and keep it burning.

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Spiders are not insects, no matter what the humans say. Spiders are usually a lot more fun to play with. For one thing, they are usually within paw’s reach. And they move in a lot of directions to get away. You can play for a long time if you’re not too rough. (More like mice that way.)

Of course, there are a few to avoid. The humans like to give them human-type names: “black widow” or “brown recluse”. Generally speaking, humans will have an “ick”-type reaction to the fun, tasty spiders. They are more likely to go with an “eek”-type response to a poisonous one. Even humans who tolerate the regular ones will usually try to kill these. Self-preservation and all that.

Note: We live in Michigan and have a temperate climate. The cold keeps away most nasty spiders. If you live in a hot tropical place, make sure you know the locals. If you live in Australia, we recommend you not eat anything with 8 legs until you talk to an elderly cat (who has probably seen some unfortunate victims). Particularly if the spider is bigger than you are.

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Bug Hunting on a First Date. If you want to take a fellow feline on a bug-hunting trip, make sure they like to hunt in your style. Unfortunately, there are many instances of a run-and-play cat being partnered with a stalk-and-kill cat. There is little hope for the relationship.

Hunting as a Team. Usually bugs are small. So it is unrealistic to think that you will share the kill. However, it is polite to take turns bringing down the prey and eating it. If you catch something you don’t like, by all means offer it to your partner. You may both try for the next bug.

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If you are inside, watch for wall and tripping/falling hazards. If you are chasing a bug and fall off a table or run into a wall, you can be sure your human will be watching, laughing, and pointing a camera at you. Then they will show the video to all of their friends who will also laugh at you. In this situation, it is appropriate to make your next bug-hunting trip in their bedroom, in the middle of the night. Make a video. Send it to your friends.

Enjoy your summer. And Happy Hunting!

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(photos courtesy of Google Images)