There were four things I didn’t need this morning.
My oldest daughter was already in the car because she didn’t have to go to school. If she had had school she would have still been in bed because the only time we are never late is when we don’t have to be anywhere by a certain time. My youngest daughter gingerly put her new shoes on; the blue ones that make her run fast. My son refused to remove his hooded, fleece moose blanket—a blanket that was not coming with us because it was too big. If the fabric length is long enough to cloak an actual moose it cannot come into the car.
As I consoled my blanket-less son out of the house, I saw my youngest daughter frozen in the driveway.
“Mommy, Yoda has a . . . she has something,” she said to me.
I looked up as I came out of the garage in time to see the cat’s tubby, tortie body trudging across the driveway with something moderately large fixed in her mouth. She carried it confidently and expertly with her head held up and a hop in her prance like she was being photographed for an issue of National Geographic. I looked at the ball of scraggly gray fur and thought maybe it was a rat.
There were four things I didn’t need this morning:
- To clean up the remains of a rat.
- Explain to my children the nature of animal instincts that utilized killing.
- Explain what killing was.
- Explain death, again. The last time I had to do this was when my grandma died. Then, again a month later at the end of The Good Dinosaur because, “Why didn’t his daddy come home?”
Then, my daughter screamed, “It’s a bunny, Mommy. It’s a baby, she has a baby bunny!” She was panicking and almost crying.
Now, to really appreciate the severity of this situation, you should know this child adores bunnies almost as much as I adore quiet time and cake—sometimes together. She has loved bunnies for as long as I can remember, bunnies hold a special place in her little heart. And while I didn’t know what the cat had in her mouth, or if it was even alive, I was pretty sure I knew what she was going to do with it. I ushered my daughter into the car with the same urgency as I would have if her pants were suddenly on fire and I didn’t want her to know. I took a closer look and saw the long ears of a baby bunny. This poor baby bunny who started its morning off in the cool dew-speckled grass enjoying a breakfast salad of dandelions with a side of grass, was now in the grips of tiny cat teeth and was either dead or about to die. Not exactly the way anyone sees their day going.
My mind raced for ideas of what to do. I had no idea what the cat’s timeline was. If she had no regard for my screen doors (and she didn’t), she wouldn’t think twice about disemboweling this tiny rabbit in front of all of us. A conversation I definitely did not want to have. I stood and looked at her and she looked at me with a face full of fluff. There was something unsettling about seeing my cat holding a ball of baby fur in her mouth on her way to end its life. Especially since I suspected this wasn’t Yoda’s first bunny-napping.
I quickly approached the front tire making full eye contact. Yoda immediately dropped the barely two-month-old rabbit, who fell to the cement without a sound. The cat sat down close to it, but not next to it, and looked at me like she had no idea how it got there. I didn’t know if the bunny was hurt, but it was alive and a wave of relief washed over me. The only thing worse than handling a dead rat was handling a dead rabbit.
It lay motionless on the ground with its ears back as it tried to disguise itself like a fuzzy, gray rock on our driveway. Its only defense that, frankly, sucked, and was why it was in the situation it was in. Kickboxing or Taekwondo would be much more effective. Plus, I’d pay good timothy hay and quality rabbit pellets to see Yoda get her butt kicked by a baby bunny.
I picked up a rock that was near me and rolled it across the driveway like a bowling ball at Yoda like she was a pin. She scrambled to her feet and ran like I had just launched a missile at her. When I looked back over at the bunny it was gone, I heard the rustling in the flower bushes and it was safely out of sight.
As I climbed into the car, I reassured my daughter that the bunny was safe and heading back to its home. My youngest daughter smiled triumphantly as I told her she saved the baby bunny’s life. I mean, I would have never even noticed the cat if she hadn’t said anything. I was busy consoling my son over the loss of a fleece blanket that would still be there when we got back home.
I didn’t see Yoda for the rest of the day. I suspect she spent her remaining daylight hours prowling and stalking other defenseless animals to steal. I just hope next time she’s more discreet about her indiscretions, I really don’t need to clean up the remains of what she thinks should be in an issue of National Geographic. Nor am I prepared to discuss them with any of my children.