Monday, November 13, 2006

Tasha and the Bunnies. . .

My cat Tasha was a natural born huntress. If it moved she pounced and caught it. This included everything from bugs to furry critters of all kinds.

From the time she was just a kitten, she was fascinated by anything that moved and just catching it wasn’t enough. She would toy with it until she finally killed it, but she also seemed to need recognition for her deeds.

When she was about a year old I lived in Colorado, in the Springs. There was a window that didn’t have a screen on and Tasha would come and go as she pleased. It was convenient, so I never worried about fixing it. It was 1977, so our world was still a little less intense and laid-back then and an open window wasn’t such a big thing.

One night around 2:00 a.m. I rolled over in bed and my hand touched the floor. I moved it and felt something warm and wet, so I reached up and turned the light on. There was Tasha, sitting there proudly with a half-eaten bird in front of her. I was her sacred offering to me, which I rejected, much to her dismay. I don’t think she ever forgave me after that and when I got married a couple of months later, she was his cat from that time on.

When we moved back to Wichita, she again shared her world with Tiger, my yellow tabby. Tiger didn’t know he was a cat and when Tasha would bring him little ‘gifts’, he was lay his ears back and move away, obviously disgusted by the wet, dead things that Tasha would bring him. Whether she was looking for approval of her hunting skills from the elder cat or she did it just to disgust him, we’ll never know.

Our neighbor across the street raised bunnies. He had a pretty secure fencing system so the bunnies didn’t live in hutches; they just hopped around his backyard. It didn’t take Tasha long to discover them. In the mornings my mom or dad would go out into the back yard and pick up baby bunny carcasses, throwing them away to dispose of the evidence before the neighbor could discover them.

He would come over and comment that some ‘damn neighborhood cat’ was getting in and killing his bunnies. But he knew that Tasha would never do it, he said. But he sure did want to know which cat it was.

My parents were appalled by this, and didn’t know what to say to the neighbor. Finally, it got so bad that the neighbor decided to move the bunnies to his brother’s farm in Medicine Lodge. He asked my dad to help him move them and my dad, feeling slightly guilty told him that he would be glad to help.

They loaded bunnies, into the neighbors’ station wagon. Lots and lots of bunnies, around 60 actually. The bunnies weren’t in cages, just stuck in the back.

The last thing my mom saw as they drove down the street was bunnies going wild in the car, hopping on the dashboard, over the seats and my dad trying to keep them off of his head!

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