What happens when a mother cat goes hunting for her young? Usually, not much — not much, that is, unless she was living with my mother.
Peaches, my tortoiseshell cat, was for reasons that remain unclear to me today, never “fixed.” So shortly after we noticed she was gaining weight, it was determined that she was great with child– or kittens, as the case may be. Before too long Peaches delivered her litter of precious kittens in the downstairs bathroom closet. She was a devoted mom and even my social-worker mother was impressed with her maternal abilities. Peaches was put on premium rations, as was only befitting a nursing mother of six or so, including milk, canned food, and the occasional scrambled egg. My mom’s natural and professional abilities kicked in, as she supported the little single mother in every way possible, enabling her to successfully raise her babies.
As appreciative as Peaches was, or could be, considering she was a cat, of all the things my mom was doing for her, she did have an independent streak. As her kittens grew older, she apparently felt she had to start modeling cat survival skills. So, despite the lofty level of domestic charity that was going on in our household, the day came when Peaches went out to provide for her babies herself.
Peaches was outside, supposedly attending to her ‘business,’ when Mom saw her approaching and graciously opened the kitchen door for her. As Peaches trotted up the two steps, Mom noticed something resembling a dead animal in the cat’s mouth. My Mom was not known for being one for keeping her tongue, particularly in a crisis, though she did try very hard never to curse. In fact, whenever she was tempted to utter a swear-word, she would substitute “God Bless America!” Sometimes “God Bless America!” could even be used as an adjective. On this occasion, it wasn’t what she said, it was her volume. She simply screamed. She screamed long and loud.
Poor Peaches must have had an adrenaline rush and chosen option “B”, i.e. “flight”, of her “fight or flight” instincts. She dropped her prize, turned tail, literally, and sprang back out of the still open kitchen door, not bothering with the steps. My mother was left with the spoils of the hunt – a rabbit’s head. Mom grabbed the broom that was kept beside the refrigerator to get the mess cleaned up.
Many of us would have grabbed the broom with some concept of using it to lift and remove the rabbit’s head from the kitchen floor. Not my mom. Her strategy was to entice Peaches to come back into the kitchen and remove it for her. Entice her with a broom. Her good intentions of supporting the poor little single mom trying her best to raise her babies were forgotten. All who had been attracted by the previous scream got to see my mom running around the backyard with a broom, chasing my poor mother-cat, yelling “You get your God-bless- America!-self back in there and pick up that God-bless- America!-thing off my kitchen floor!”.
I don’t know who cleaned up the rabbit’s head. I know I didn’t and I’m pretty sure Peaches didn’t either.
© Laura Hedgecock 2009