This past week I have been keeping an eye on my parents’ cats. They have not done anything wrong - well, I take that back. On Monday they knocked over my dad’s kerosene heater, thus spilling all the kerosene on the porch.
My dad was not too happy with this as he was the one who had to clean the porch off. The cats watched and offered little help although he did say they investigated everything he lifted or moved.
The real problem has been for the past couple of weeks the number of cats outside my parents’ home has been dropping. Now my dad would say that is good as there are less to feed.
On Sunday I was walking down the hall and looked out the window and saw one of the remaining cats crouching in the back yard. I watched for several minutes as the cat did not move and seemed to be staring at something.
I walked over to the window to get a better look and what I saw was ambush in waiting.
My dad has a garden in the back yard where he is growing squash and pumpkins. He has had a problem with some rabbits eating his crops, so he built a fence to keep them out.
This fence worked and it kept the rabbit out of the garden. However, the determined rabbit must have been looking for a way to bypass the fence and had been caught unaware by three cats.
The cats were poised in a triangle formation and every time the rabbit tried to move they countered. Now I would like to say the cats were going to play a game of tag with this rabbit, but I am pretty sure I know what their intentions were.
I watched for a few minutes as the cats inched closer to the rabbit. I admit I enjoyed watching the cats coordinate their efforts to stalk and take down prey. It was like watching a nature program on wild cats, only I highly doubt these cats are ever going to take down a wilderbeast at full gallop. In fact if these cats ever saw a wilderbeast I am sure they would be the ones intimidated.
I walked away from the window and returned to watching TV, prepared to let nature take its course. Though as I began to sit down I thought about a conversation I had with a close friend.
Could I just sit there, leaving that rabbit to its fate? I know this would not be the first rabbit these cats have killed, though it would be the first one I watched them stalk, then kill.
Of course I thought about my little friend who has been accompanying me on walks over the past few months. What if this rabbit was its brother, sister , aunt, uncle or even neighbor?
I proceeded out the front door and walked around the side of the house. I stood at the corner of the house and saw the standoff still very much in progress.
Walking out further into the backyard I yelled, “Hey, what are you three doing?” Hearing and recognizing my voice, all three cats’ attention was diverted from the rabbit for a moment and that is all it took.
Like a shot, that rabbit was off, hopping for dear life with the cats in hot pursuit.
I admit, I was laughing as the rabbit and cats rounded the corner post and headed down the alley. I had watched the Belmont Stakes on Saturday and as those animals were running I could hear an inner monologue in my head. “They are off! Cottontail is in the lead, followed closely by Agent Orange, with Curly on the inside keeping pace with Midnight.”
I walked out the back gate to check and see if the rabbit got away. At the end of the alleyway were the three cats sitting side-by-side, watching the rabbit hot foot it across the street and up the hill into the weeds.
Later that night I told my dad about what had taken place in his backyard while he was gone. I stepped out onto the porch for a moment to look at the stars, and when I turned around, the three cats were sitting on the railing, starring at me.
If cats could talk, I am pretty sure I would have needed three small bars of soap.
I may have interfered with the natural order of things, but I’m sure the rabbit is fine with my decision. As for the cats, they’ll just have to get by with the Meow Mix.
Thomas Garcia is a reporter for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at: