Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday Turmoil ~ Cat Wranglers

I was reading my blog roll this morning and read about Spring bunnies over on Shannon Lawrence's The Warrior Muse. She posts a lot of great info about publications searching for writers, writer's conferences, and contests. If you are not reading her blog, you should be.

I was reminded about a story I wanted to share with you. It's about my cats, Little Bit and Patches. Both of them were rescues by a quirky set of circumstances and divine intervention.

Patches was gotten from the Humane Society for our youngest daughter who had just lost a kitten to feline leukemia. My daughter was bending down to pick up another cat when she jumped up on her shoulder and wouldn't budge. She's a tortoise shell colored cat...patches of different colors.

Little Bit's story can be found HERE on my old blog. Although she's a lovable puff ball of six and fully grown into a seven pounder, I still think of her as a baby. My older cats and Yorkie are up in heaven now leaving us with only the two cats. I've trained them to catch but not kill. I do that with all my animals. I'm an old softie that way.

Both cats will bring me their catches and give that certain trilling meow that gets my attention. Depending on how much their prey fights determines whether it will live or not. I'm not always able to release them in viable health back to nature. It's about a 50/50 proposition when their catch is wild.

We raise hens and rabbits at our house so killing is not an option unless I do it. The cats know this. The cats have become my stock wranglers. When rabbits get loose they will corner them until I catch them and the same holds true for the hens. They will carry chicks and bunnies back to the hutch or hens. They are all used to each other. Our homestead exemption is truly for a homestead.

 It's about the wild catches they bring me that I wanted to tell about today. My cats bring me everything alive and receive positive reinforcement in doing so. They also bring me assorted lizards and snakes. For those of my long time readers, you know I'm deathly AFRAID of snakes.

Although they serve their purpose, I can't stand them. They give me the willies just talking about them. That includes the Southeastern Legless Lizards. If it moves like a snake, looks like a snake, and is colored like a snake...it is a snake. Although after ten years, I'm building up a tolerance to them.

The downside of teaching your cat wranglers not to kill.

One day, my family was playing a rousing game of Canasta at the dining room table. With all the jovial bickering back and forth, I didn't notice Patches coming in the pet door with her prize. She gave her little trilling meow so I looked down and in her mouth was a Cottonmouth snake still very much alive!
  • I screamed. 
  • She dropped it in surprise.
  • It landed on my bare feet. Wiggling and trying to coil up to strike at the cat.
  • I jumped up into my chair still screaming and shrieking like a scared child.
  • The cat tries to recapture the snake.
  • My son in law stomps on it's head with his work boots.
It was a baby of less than a foot long, but it was a snake and a poisonous one to boot! After the snake was killed and removed, and my heartbeat returned to normal, I reached down with shaky hands and praised the cat. My girls were busy trying to clean up the snake gunk from the carpet.

Why did I praise Patches? She followed the rule of capture- don't kill. It's been five years, but still I get the impulse to shriek and stand up on my chair at the very remembrance of that day. There have been plenty of reoccurences with snakes and assorted other creepy crawlies, but this one stands out vividly in my mind. It was the last poisonous snake she's brought to me alive. Now, she just plays with them and kills them...but that's another story. How my cats know the difference is beyond me. No wonder ancient Egyptians worshiped cats.

4 comments:

Dana said...

Yikes! I'm so afraid of snakes. I can't even imagine one near me...

J.L. Murphey said...

Dana, that's the thing, I didn't have to imagine it.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Cats are so smart! I would have stood on my chair screaming if a snake was dropped on my foot, too. How did the kitty not get struck? Does the fur protect them? I always felt a little safer when my outdoor cats were out back, because I figured they'd find a snake before it could get to my kids (we have rattlers). Now I only have an indoor cat, but I'm happy to at least have dogs in most of the neighboring yards. Hopefully, that's a deterrent!

Thank you for the mention! I think it's so cool that your cats are trained to capture critters alive (other than the snakes, of course).

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

J.L. Murphey said...

Shannon,
As far as the mention goes, you deserve the spotlight.

As far as I know, unless you have a terrier dogs are not a deterrent for snakes, but they can be trained. They will alert you to danger. My terrier did that when a grass snake got into the house and managed to climb into one of my bookcases.

Cats are quick and can move in more ways than a dog. That's why they are so much fun to watch. Think of the mongoose versus the cobra. Same principle.