Monday, September 30, 2013

Spare Parts

WARNING:  This post contains icky stuff, likely not suitable for reading during the breakfast hours.  Come back a couple of hours after breakfast, unless you have a cast iron tummy, like myself.  


There's a stomach on my patio. 

Yep.  A stomach.  Distended, as if the owner had been able to enjoy a good repast at some point.  This is the point on television shows where the police would show up, and something would cover the stomach while the CSI people went over my back yard with microscopes and tweezers.  Since this is not a television show, I have to do my own sleuthing.  Stomachs tend to all look the same, much like kidneys.  From the scale of the organ, I'd say that it once belonged to a mouse.  I could be wrong.  I am not about to go into the house and put on my glasses in order to see more clearly and answer more precisely.  I still retain some long lost vestige of girliness which requires that I find such things icky. 

I am just happy that I only found a stomach this time. 

When I rise each morning, bleary-eyed,  to put out cat food and fill water bowls while making sure that the dog does her business, I expect everything on my patio to look exactly the same as it did the night before.  I rely on it, simply because I am just like every other person out there.  Consistent routines are not only comfortable, they also allow other brain activity in the background. At that stage of the morning I need my brain focused on putting one foot in front of the other and staying upright.  

My backyard feral cats are not malicious creatures. Lalo looks like a capital O with legs, and Smoky likes to sleep with his legs pointing straight up in the air, so the sun warms his belly.  As far as I know, they are not up at night for nefarious purposes, plotting the demise of the Rottweiler next door.  Most of the time, those two are not even awake enough to take a whack at the mockingbirds who snack on their food during the day.

And yet I regularly find parts of things on the patio.  A leg.  A tail.  A kidney.  A stomach.  It doesn't happen every day, but often enough.  Occasionally, there are entire corpses, laid out for display, and then the cats almost seem proud of their contributions to the family larder.  Those occasions are when my husband is reminded of the "for worse" clause in our wedding vows. 

It is difficult for me to reconcile the picture of a cat the shape of a soccer ball with a creature capable of killing and eating a living squeaky toy.   These cats purr and blink at me, and they're fluffy and cute.  They also happen to be predators, and they are very good at their job.  I am thankful that these cats, even if they won't let me scratch them behind the ears, are keeping the mouse population out of my house.

But I would rather not find spare parts on my patio.






17 comments:

  1. Oh my. I don't know what to say, because I know that I would scream the first time this happened, and then maybe get used to it? (do you ever get used to it?)

    Fenton (our German Shepherd) eats my fake flower arrangements. Making a mess of my foyers and living room. I can't imagine coming in and seeing a stomach on the rug or on the patio. YOU are brave for telling us this tale ;)

    it's interesting, isn't it, that they are such good kittens but also so good at um, ahem, you know...murder? LOL

    xo

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  2. They are doing what cats do, eh? I loved your disclaimer... I used to run a cadaver lab in college so stomachs are pretty run of the mill stuff... still... Im glad my dog keeps the mice away without gutting them as a gift for me.

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    1. Not many people can stomach body parts. Pardon the pun. Thanks for reading!

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  3. Yep. Rather gross. But, I make a living working with troubled teenagers - mostly boys. I do find you kind of adjust to it. There is still that girly part that goes EEEWWW!! But, it gets tucked in behind the part that goes Again?

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  4. My mother-in-law had a cat that would bring dead mice in the house as prizes. She was freaked out, but the cat was all proud. Little did she know she should be grateful she had the entire rodent, rather than pieces here and there!

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  5. At least you cat does it's work in the yard. Mine used to bring his kills into the house. He was quite the surgeon. There was always a nice little pile of internal organs right next to head.Everything else was consumed.

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  6. Yow. I wouldn't be able to stomach that.

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    1. It is an acquired skill--and indicative of how many parts I have found!

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  7. Sometimes I feel guilty for keeping our elderly cats inside their whole lives, but when I how often I don't find animals and animal parts in or near my home, the guilt subsides a little. Plus, my cats are really good at eating bugs, so I comfort myself thinking that they're doing their feline duty, albeit on a smaller scale than the outdoor kitties.

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    1. Oh, if these kitties would be so kind as to allow me to touch them, pet them, and take them to the vet, I'd happily keep them inside with my other cats.

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  8. Aww, your cats love you! They bring you presents!!!

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  9. Um, this puts me in mind of the time I found an eviscerated mouse on my porch...my kitty is sweet, but that doesn't stop her from hunting the little buggers...

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  10. Ah, yes, I remember those days! I used to have many kitty citizens living with me and a few were allowed outside. I would get these little *gifts* at my door as well! GROSS! But they are so proud....and so cute....fluffy...and their purrs....oh well. :)

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