Two years ago, after six years of living in an apartment, we presented our cat with an enclosed yard periodically filled with all manner of small local wildlife. Birds flit among the trees, mice hold meetings in the shrubbery, crows hop on the lawn, and never-seen things rattle the hedges.

Our cat, to her credit, knew instantly how to respond to this sudden and unexpected bounty of potential nutrients. She froze, she watched, she creeped, she wiggle-butted all over the yard — but she has never, in all this time, actually lunged. She’s never made a go of anything. She’s never jabbed, swatted, or made a strike. No blood has been spilled. No horrible presents have been left for me on the welcome mat.

I started wondering why my cat hasn’t tried to kill anything.

1. She’s a pacifist

I would like to believe this, but I once saw a thick, injured moth limp into her field of vision, and she nonchalantly lowered her face to concrete, closed her mouth over it, and chewed. It was one of the most horrific things I’ve ever seen. I felt like a 4-year-old catching a glimpse of Aliens. I’ll never be the same again.

2. She knows she’ll fail

Perhaps she really wants to kill something but she just knows her limitations. For example, I know I’d fail at dunking a basketball, so you never see me trying to dunk a basketball. And yet, I don’t really want to dunk a basketball. You don’t see me crouched on the playground staring at a basketball rim all afternoon, hour after hour, day after day, the way she stares at the bushes. I hope that if she really wanted to kill something she would at least give it a shot every once in a while.

3. She has remarkable patience

Yes, all this watching could very well be the studied groundwork of some next-level cat fu that will one day pay off with a fearsome strike, sending animal parts soaring over the rose bushes every morning, lines of blood arcing in the crisp air. We can only hope. (Sorry for the imagery.)

4. She believes the animals are her friends

It’s nice to think so, and if it weren’t for the nasty business with the moth and some snails and whatnot, I would believe it. I think she has something other than friendship in mind.

5. She lunges, but when I’m not looking

This could be true. I don’t spend all my time looking at my cat sitting around outside, to be honest. Really, I have no idea what’s going on out there most of the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s running around hitting things like a drunk taking on a hockey team when I’m not paying attention.

6. She might just be a terrible hunter, and that’s that.