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.