They Eat Cats, Don’t They?

Continuing on with why, even though they ate my cat, I still find it pretty hard not to admire the freakishly dog-like miniature coyotes that live in the canyon right behind my apartment:

They’re handsome. The coyotes that live in the canyon in my backyard are a far cry from the mangy, Overtly Craven-looking coyotes that I used to know when, for instance, I lived in the desert. (Don’t ask. No, wait: Do! But later.) Desert coyotes look like … well, coyote winos. With teeth. And really good vision. And a running speed that freaks out giant, huge-footed desert jackrabbits. A desert coyote isn’t even trying to act like it wouldn’t eat your arm if you’d just doze off for a second. But the coyotes in our canyon stand around looking like … butlers, or something—like Wall Street executives: They’re sleek, neat, and appear as groomed as any kennel club champion. They look exactly like compact, well-tended German Shepherds. Of course, these chic, urban dynamos subsist on a diet of premium cat food—that is, they eat premium cats. So. Unfair to judge them by their desert dwelling cousins, who subsist on road kill, old tires, and tumbleweeds.

They have strong family values.  You almost always see wileyus eaturcateous prowling about in a family unit: dad, mom, a couple of pups or teens. The parents are extremely diligent about teaching their young’uns all of their survival tricks. Ward Coyote, for instance, will say to his son, “Look, Beavoyte. See that guy there, on his patio? The one hurling fruit in our general direction? That fella couldn’t hit the ground with a bowling ball! Ha, ha! But seriously, son. Eventually he’ll run out of items to throw at us. Now it’s not a guarantee that he’s gonna’ get so insane he’ll eventually pick up his cat and throw that at us, but let’s give it a chance, shall we? C’mon. Sit right here, and just stare dead at him. Drives him nuts. This’ll be fun.” Stupid coyotes. They’re so … crafty.

They help people live right. Periodically, in the dead of night, every last coyote in our canyon starts in with a blood curdling, yipping-howling cacophony that would make every hair on the Werewolf’s head stand up even more than usual. I’ve been told they do this “after a kill,” but a maniacal taxidermist told me that, and I can’t really vouch for its veracity. What I do know is that coyotes’ ghastly, high-pitched gang-yowling, which you can hear from a mile away, triggers tears in children, identity crises in dogs, heart attacks in cats, and tends to overwhelm adults with inexplicable guilt. There’s nothing, but nothing, like waking up in the middle of the night to the spine-chilling, yelping frenzy of the Hounds of You-Know-Where to make a person swear on the spot to start living right. Priests and pastors should crank up a recording of the Coyote Death Wail outside their churches. Boost attendance, for sure.

Love ‘em; hate ‘em; fear ‘em; throw tangerines at ‘em—it doesn’t matter. In the end, canyon coyotes, just like about everything else in life, point straight to church. And thank God for that.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.