Monday, April 30, 2007

The Great Black Hunter...

This is Stevie, aka the Great Black Hunter. The GBH. She doesn't look too dangerous eh?

What you don't know is that lounging in this picture on my cozy fluffy blankets, with her half-asleep and contented eyes, is a wild animal. The GBH is no pet. She's assimilated well into our daily routine, doing the things cats tend to do. She sleeps. She eats. She poops. You know, all those cat things. But make no mistake. She's only a tenant in this house.

Back about eight years ago by my guess, a friend brought me a box of kittens she'd found in a barn while checking on her horse. Several adult female cats had been killed around the farm by some wild animal or tomcat and my friend was pretty sure these kittens were orphaned. She was on her way out of town and asked if I could hold onto them until the morning when they could be dropped off at the shelter. The lady at the shelter told me they weren't "taking any more kittens," and couldn't I just keep them? This particular shelter is famous for trying to convince you to keep the animal(s) you found rather than take it to them.

The kittens were only 3 or 4 weeks old, their eyes barely open, at the time. Cat food was not an option. So I bottle fed them. Stevie was the runt, she was sickly and scrawny and refused to take the bottle. I literally force-fed that cat with a syringe. I guess sometimes small kittens cannot urinate until their mother washes them with her tongue, and while the other kittens were doing ok, Stevie couldn't "go" without my help. I washed her with a warm washcloth every hour for the first week until she caught up with her littermates. All in all, I forced her to live, despite her intentions.

We gave the other kittens to relatives or friends, but Stevie stayed with us. It soon became apparent that she was no housecat. Her first few trips outside brought numerous dead rodents to our doorstep. She wouldn't come when you called her. She would bolt away from you if you approached. If you were sitting down, she might find her way into your lap and rub all over you and lick your hands and face, but try to pick her up and you might lose an eye. She had a litter of kittens of her own before we even knew she was in heat (we later had her spayed), and she actually taught her kittens to hunt. She'd bring a mouse or shrew she caught in the yard, still alive, and drop it in front of the kittens. Craziest thing I ever saw from a housecat. But then, she's no housecat. Now she's an expert hunter. When a bird found itself stuck in our fireplace and then our house, the GBH was after it, bouncing off the back of the couch and then the wall before grabbing the bird right out of the air. Le Matrix a la Feline. If there is ever a mouse brave enough to enter my home, all you have to say is, "Stevie, it's a mouse!" and she's after it in a flash. The word "mouse" is the only word she readily responds to.

Last spring, we were alerted when the mother rabbits left their babies to fend for themselves, because the GBH killed and dismembered several on my carpet. Once again, it's Baby Rabbit Season. I rescued a baby from the GBH this afternoon. This time I took it across the road and down the hill before letting it go, since last time she just kept catching them again. Boy I hope that baby rabbit finds a better home over there, because if it comes back here, it's done for.

"Come closer, sweet and furry little bunny rabbit. You can trust me. Oh yes. You can trust me."

1 comment:

Deanna said...

We really are living parallel lives. Second post today that I can say "Me too" to. Our dog is the hunter in this house. I doubt he is as adept as your kitty, but he tries. I posted last year about his adventures with the bunnies, and now it is bunny season again, and I swear there are TONS more bunnies than there were last year. So far all have gotten away from our hunter, but I would guess its a matter of time. He caught a bird last week. Warming up.