Instincts in Action

I woke up pretty late this morning. I usually wake up between 7-8AM on the weekends, but because it was a long week, I was out late last night to see Wilco in San Antonio, and my bones were hurting a bit more than they usually do so I slept in. I usually sleep with my back door open so the dogs and cats can go in and out and I can get cool, fresh air in the house. But last night the dogs wanted to bark in the middle of the night, as many dogs do, so I made them come inside and I closed the door.

At about 9AM this morning Easter, my black cat, started to try to wake me up. She persisted for about 10 minutes, longer than she normally does. I don’t use an alarm clock, and Easter is often my reminder to wake up when I don’t wake up on my own.

I finally woke up and follow her through the house. She skips the bathroom, where she usually leads me to for water. She turns left instead of right (which direction she usually turns to head to the kitchen for food) and heads straight for the back door. Sometimes Easter will wake me up if Milo and/or Samantha, my other two cats, are at the back door and want to come inside (pretty amazing, and considerate of her, I think). But I thought nothing of it when I saw both Samantha and Milo at the door.

I opened the door and Samantha and Milo came inside. I left the door open, but Easter still stood at the door and meowed. I was too tired to care what the matter could be so I went back to bed to snuggle with my dogs for a while longer and force myself to “sleep in”.

I finally couldn’t take the pain of laying on a mattress any longer and got out of bed at around 10AM. The first thing that I did was walk out my back door to play frisbee with Molly, my yellow lab. As I walked onto the back porch I saw what seemed to be one of the cats’ latest kills. Usually they kill a large field mouse and bring it as an offering to me (their way of showing that they want to take care of me from what some feline-ologists say). But this didn’t seem to be a mouse. It was much larger and had huge legs… and ears.

Peace be with you, dear hippity hoppity soul.

Peace be with you, dear hippity hoppity soul.

Milo and/or Samantha killed a rabbit. At first I felt proud of my cat(s) for pulling it off. I mean, afterall, what a hunt! This thing was almost a quarter the size of Milo himself. But then I immediately felt sadness for the rabbit. It’s instinctual for my cats to hunt, and I love the fact that they can practice these natural instincts, and well. At the same time, though, these instincts are in place to ensure survival. Did the rabbit lost his life merely for the practice? Was I experiencing life as it actually happens in the real world, right at my doorstep? I had seen countless mice and birds at my doorstep before, but this was different for some reason. Was it because of the size of the animal? What’s the difference?

In truth, the kill had no direct impact on the actual survival of Milo/Samantha – or my own life for that matter. I still felt that I had to show Milo praise for practicing his instincts well, and thanks for leaving it for me as an offering. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that your pets want to take care of you, and do something to show it.

I raise my glass to the rabbit that (I’m assuming) Milo killed. This simple article is a dedication to his life and apology to him, his family, and his DNA. I would feel better if I skinned and cooked him for my cats, but the fact that it was truly unnecessary to our survival is a sadness I would feel while skinning him/her that I really don’t want to feel right now. So I’m going to bury him/her under my grapevine. Peace be with you, dear soul.

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