Upon following the cat to the beach, Newberg discovered that it was digging clams out of the sand and eating them, a novel behavior never before observed in feral domestic cats. It used its claws to open some of the clams, and seemed to have formed a sort of symbiosis with local gulls for the more stubborn ones; the cat would allow the gulls to pick up and drop the clams onto rocks to break them, before chasing the gull away to eat.

The cat’s close association with water and clams continued after it gave birth to a litter of kittens, with Newberg observing three of the six kittens engaging in clam-digging behavior themselves. He speculates that the behavior could have spread to other feral cats in the area had it not been for the arrival of Hurricane Irv, which made landfall as a Category 5 storm and demolished the beach the cats had been using. Newberg never saw any of them again after the storm, and no further examples of cats digging for clams were recorded over the next ten years.

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