I love and honor all life forms. But if the best food for my pets is alive and not in a box or can, what do I do? I’m a nurturing sort, not the type that enjoys watching a poor cute mousie get dropped into a snake’s cage and run around terrified. I want to scoop up the mouse, rescue him, comfort him, and make up a nice little habitat for him to live out his cute, loving days in.

So, obviously, snake ownership is out of the question.

What about my cats? Their best food is also mice. But buying cute little loving responsive micies from the pet store to feed to them is out of the question not only because of the torture aspect, but also because it’s a messy business when a cat devours a mouse. My preferred solution is to live in the country where the cats can hunt on their own and nature takes its course.

Why do we have to eat each other to survive, anyways? As a hypocritical meat-eater who’s trying to eat more vegetarian-style, this question has been coming to mind lately. Having successfully won the battle over severe anemia this past year, obtaining iron for my body has been a serious issue. And the best way to get iron that your body will absorb and use is to eat at least some red meat. Especially in conjunction with plant sources of iron, like spinach. A small amount of meat eaten with iron-rich leafy greens gives the best iron boost to your body.

I honestly prefer to eat wild-caught, ethically-killed meat, whether that’s hoofed, finned, or clawed. The whole thing is brutal, but at least these creatures got to live free and healthy lives.

Which leads back to the genesis of this post: what to feed Rainbow, my new Siamese Fighting Fish. Ihmmm,,,, is it a bug? received him as a gift, just days after admiring a friend’s fish tank and wishing I had one, too. A Betta is actually a great alternative for me to the whole creation-of-an-ecosystem that comes with running a fish tank. The problem is that I have to figure out what to feed Rainbow. I bought some Betta food that the young lady at the pet store recommended, but it has all sorts of ingredients that are not even remotely natural for people, never mind a fish who normally eats bugs and larvae and such.

Last night, Rainbow got all excited and flared his fins and moved around real quick and seemed to be looking at something on the curtain near his vase. Lo and behold, there was a fly there. Surprising, because we don’t usually have flies hanging around. I actually managed to catch it and threw it onto the water in his vase. He seemed remarkably uninterested. Maybe it was because I had already fed him? Maybe he was full? I was really disappointed. Maybe it was because I accidentally squished the fly in the catching process? I felt a mixture of guilt, repulsion, and geeze – I just violated my own principles and for what? Before I headed off for bed, I scooped the poor dead fly out of Rainbow’s vase, and tried to get out the Betta food pellet that had drifted to the bottom and nestled among the glass beads. You have to get these things out so that the water stays clean.

speedy Rainbow

This morning, there was a black fly on the window screen. Not uncommon here in Maine, where we debate the State Bird status of mosquitoes and black flies. I was better at catching this one, and it was still alive when I tossed it into Rainbow’s vase. This one worked. Rainbow acted all cool at first, but as the fly struggled ( ! I’m sorry! ), Rainbow flew to the surface and gulped down the fly. I swear to you, after Rainbow had finished eating, he came over, looked right at me, and it looked like his little fins were applauding. “Do it again, do it again!”

I can’t believe it, but it looks like I’ll be catching flies for him.

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