I have a cat. A fluffy fuzzy insouciant beast who likes to fancy himself a street thug when he’s not curled up on soft blankets in the house. A long-haired squeaky-voiced sharp-clawed tiny tiger who isn’t above sneaking into the nap room so he can cuddle with sleeping toddlers.
He’s everything people love – and hate – about cats. Yes, he sleeps curled up on my feet like a weaponized hot water bottle, but he also cries piteously when he’s eaten a hole in the middle of his otherwise full food fish because OMG CAN SEE THE BOWL THAT MEANS I WILL STARVE IT IS THE END TIMES.
He’s also a murderer.
Now, spare me your lectures please about outdoor cats and songbirds. His kill ratio is easily 20:1 rodents to birds. Maybe even higher. I live next door to a restaurant. He’s welcome to eliminate as many rats, mice, and the like as he can catch. I’m fine with that, although I do wish he’d stop bringing me his leftovers after he’s eaten the choicest morsels (apparently brains and entrails are delicious, while noses, whiskers, feet and tails are garbage).
He’s especially vicious in the summer months, and before I take the kids outside to play on the deck I always take a quick peek to make sure there isn’t a biology lesson next to the Cozy Coupe.
The other day, I forgot. I sent George and Charlie out to the backyard and was pouring myself a cup of tea to take out with me. I heard them clattering down the steps to the yard, and then George started to yell.
“Stop, Charlie! Don’t go there! Don’t touch it! I have to tell Mom!… MOOOOOM!! Mom! WE HAVE A LARGE CORPSE PROBLEM OUT HERE!”
I looked wistfully at my perfect cup of tea and grabbed a paper towel. I figured it would be another mouse. Maybe a vole.
I had not figured on a full-grown hare.
Cute, isn’t he? Let me tell you, when his ears are lying neatly on the ground next to him and half of his face is missing, he’s not so adorable. It was so gross. Most of it was intact, but I stared at it in horror for a few seconds before turning my attention to my pitiful single square of paper towel, realization dawning that I, like Quint, was gonna need a bigger boat.
I sternly admonished George and Charlie to stay well back. I ran into the house and wondered, not for the first time, why I don’t seem to own rubber gloves. I grabbed two grocery bags and hustled back outside.
The boys were surprisingly unfazed by Thumper’s demise. I guess, being pampered children of the post-2010 era, that they’ve never been traumatized by a viewing of Bambi. They were leaning over the stair railing to get a better look, and talking in animated tones about all the blood, and the bones all sticking out, and whether Max had broken its neck first or just bitten it until it DIED, like a zombie.
Small children are all sociopaths, I’m convinced.
I pulled one grocery bag over my hand and opened the other one. I looked around just in case there was an adult nearby who could handle it for me. There was not. I took a deep breath and waded in. I picked up the ears first, and tossed them in the bag. (Those are the EARS, I guess Max doesn’t like to eat those from behind me). I gritted my teeth, grabbed the poor thing’s hind legs, and managed to stuff it in the grocery bag. I carried it to the large green bin, held out in front of me as far as my short arms would reach in exactly the way you would carry a headless fucking rabbit in a plastic bag, and upended it while looking in the other direction.
It was an eventful few minutes, is what I’m saying.
Listening to Charlie and George tell all the parent clients about our Exciting Adventure was something else, too. They were all kind of horrified that there had been a dead rabbit in the yard. They were all impressed at Max’s hunting prowess – he’s not that big, and this was a full-grown hare. They all had the same look of disquiet as the preschoolers shared all the gory details of what they’d seen.
That night, as I was drifting off to sleep, Max jumped up on the bed like always. I had a stern chat with him about not murdering bunnies, when there are so many other gross nasty disease-carrying alternatives to satisfy his bloodlust. He blinked at me, flexed his claws just enough to hurt my feet a little bit, and basically said he’d do what he liked, thanks.
So there you have it. If I ever get another cat, I’ll be keeping her indoors right from the get-go. I’m getting too old and squeamish to deal with disposing of the bodies after my in-house serial killer goes on a spree.