Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Adventures of The Mighty Hunter

Another personal tidbit: I am a cat person. At the moment there are three felines of various sizes, intelligences and proclivities vying for the patch of sunlight on my kitchen floor:
  • A fat but fluffy gray tabby who doesn't go out (because when he does he reverts to a feral state)
  • A gray short-hair with more than a little Russian Blue in him, who goes out once in a while to check things out, and who has no facial expression whatsoever; so much so that he appears to have received incompetent Botox injections (therefore hereinafter referred to as "Botox Cat" or BC)
  • An orange tabby -- spittin' image of 9-Lives' Morris -- who rules the neighborhood, to whom I refer as The Mighty Hunter (TMH.)
As I was going out to get the mail yesterday, TMH and BC dashed out ahead of me (well, BC dashed out; TMH slipped out with dignity.) I noticed a squirrel hanging on the trunk of a tree perhaps four feet above the ground, surveying the scene. I didn't think anything of it; the squirrels are usually smart and fast enough to get above where the cats can climb to quickly enough to escape from any danger they usually present.

Imagine my surprise -- mingled with dismay (I like squirrels) and pride (atta boy!) -- a bit later when my son pointed out what was happening on the front porch: BC was just sitting there watching as TMH grabbed a dead squirrel in his mouth, threw it upward, then batted at it with his front paws, playing with it. My son was laughing as he commented, "It looks like TMH is teaching BC how to kill a squirrel!" Indeed it did. TMH had killed a squirrel! Impressive, even for one who regularly comes bearing gifts of small former rodents. The thought later occurred to me that perhaps the squirrel had been preoccupied keeping BC in view, so TMH ambushed it while it wasn't looking. I don't give BC credit for enough intelligence to call it "teamwork", but it seemed like a great strategy for TMH.

I picked it up gingerly by the tail and tossed it a few feet onto the lawn, just to get if off the front walkway, intending to come back later and dispose of it.


This morning my son and I went out for breakfast. We arrived home to find the lawn service finishing up (blowing away rubbish; the lawn was already mowed.) My heart sank as I rolled down the window and asked the guy, "You wouldn't happen to have picked up the dead squirrel in the middle of the lawn before you mowed, did you?" His blank expression conveyed ignorance of either the presence of a dead squirrel in the middle of the lawn, or of English.

My son got out of the car and walked over to the last known position of the squirrel carcass. I called out, "Is it still in one piece?" or was the lawn covered with tiny shreds of squirrel, I refrained from adding aloud. He laughed (always a bad sign from a teenager in this context) and replied, "Sort of." I went over to check it out for myself, and was greeted with a sight that I shall refrain from describing, for the sake of those who may be eating or drinking, have recently done so, or plan to in the near future. Suffice it to say that garden utensils will now be required to effect removal.

All hail The Mighty Hunter.

Update: my step-daughter has correctly pointed out that BC more closely resembles the British Blue Shorthair rather than the Russian variety. In fact, this could be his brother. Also, TMH presented us with a tiny former mouse the next morning. (Dessert?)


At Sun Oct 15, 04:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yuck! *LOL* Read this one aloud to my husband ... he enjoyed it even more than I did! ;o)

His advice: "Effect removal? Just bury it right there! Great fertilizer!"

I had to remind him that most sane people don't dig up their own lawns ...


At Sun Oct 15, 10:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All right, since one good cat story deserves another. I will offer two.

First, you are lucky your cat TMH did not do what my friend's cat used to do. In an effort to teach them (the humans) the proper way to deal with caught prey, she would disect mice and chipmunks and leave the bits, in order of preference, lined up on their porch: liver, heart, brain, etc. yuck!!

Now my cat story, I have a gray and white cat who is very smart. Last year, when mice invaded the house, she caught them and put them, live, in the bathtub. There she could play with them whenever she wanted, but they couldn't escape. Can you image my horror at 6:30 am to find three live mice in the bathtub?

At Mon Oct 16, 10:09:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Are 'cat people' really in denial about being in the thrall of their toxoplasma gondii?

As Carl Zimmer says, "Enquiring (and possibly parasite-harboring) minds want to know".

Regards - Shinga

At Mon Oct 16, 11:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever thought of keeping your cats indoors at all times? It's better for your local rodent and bird population and definitely better for your cats' lifespans and overall health.

At Mon Oct 16, 05:05:00 PM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

Re: keeping them indoors: I know, I know; you're right. But TMH sprays if we don't let him out. He was adopted -- not by me -- in spite of this. Sometimes new spouses come with cats.

Also, TMH is the healthiest of the bunch, at least in terms of weight. The other two are rather on the obese side, in spite of special weight control food and limited access to it. TMH gets more exercise than the other two put together.

At Mon Oct 16, 05:35:00 PM, Blogger Pieces of Mind said...

Is The Mighty Hunter neutered?

Neutering will greatly cut down on unwanted behavior such as spraying and the tendency to roam and fight.

If a male cat is neutered in adulthood, it can be harder to eliminate the spraying; it is best to spay/neuter at early ages.

Not to be hammering away at the subject, it's just that I volunteer at the local animal shelter and have seen the sad results, not only of animal overpopulation but animals given up because of undesirable behavior.

At Mon Oct 16, 11:26:00 PM, Blogger Felix Kasza said...

Dear cat-gaoler,

cats are animals meant to roam the great outdoors instead of the closet. Please do not imprison cats just to save a few mice which reproduce like, well, rodents anyway.


At Tue Oct 17, 06:11:00 AM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

All three are neutered; TMH apparently not soon enough. As I say, he was adopted (not by me, but by one I love) after being told at the shelter, "You don't want him. He has problems." Suffice it to say that his good points sufficiently outweigh the spraying.

At Tue Oct 17, 10:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Oh, please.

Felix, mon ami, you don't know what you are talking about.

At Tue Oct 17, 03:42:00 PM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...


Many cats enjoy options: at-will roaming of the great outdoors AND a nice warm sofa cushion in the sun to nap in. They also seem to enjoy being scratched behind the ears. So if I'm a jailer, I'd like to think I maintain a minimum-securtiy facility.

At Tue Oct 17, 11:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel really guilty about keeping mine indoors, but I am just too afraid to loose her. Besides, squarrels are cute. Wouldn't want to find a half-eaten one on my bed.

Lucky for me my cat is super-shy and runs for the hills (i.e. upstairs bedrooms) whenever the front door is opened. Not sure what I'd do if I had one of those cats who beg to go out.

At Sat Oct 21, 01:27:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...


coming into this kind of late,

but I have two EXCELLENT cats, they are British Shorthairs (uh, rejected show cats, they are LONGHAIRED British Shorthairs). One is blue and weighs 15 lbs. He is our tiny cat. The other boy is orange and is now 23 lbs. After dieting. They are not fat, just big.

Especially orange kitty. Head the size of a beach ball, paws like canoe paddles.

Big boys. They stay indoors. They hunt dust motes and pillbugs and the occasional moth. Sometimes a katydid. Often, crinkle balls and various fishing pole cat toys.

They are happy.

I would never let my guys run wild outside because speeding cars do not respect the sanctity of human or feline lives. I should know, almost died not so long ago, because a teenager with a cell phone just did not see a red light. Um, and she was driving 60 in a 35 mph zone.

No way will I allow my felines of unusual size to venture into that intersection. Finding lots of ways to keep them busy inside. My daughter frequently says "Cats rule, dogs drool" and that is usually true at our house. Lately, I have been drooling too, but that is another story...
Aw, try to keep your kitties indoors, they will live longer and not get brutally injured.


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