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May 8, 2014

RONN MOTT: Cats and rabbits

It’s that time of year when my affable, lovable cats fall back to their primary roots and become stalking killers. Fortunately for the birds, they seem to have learned this very large side yard should not be utilized for giving birth to baby birds and laying eggs. Birds are not the only prey, as young rabbits also fall into that category. It hurts me to the quick, but there isn’t much I can do. The cats are only doing what the Egyptians trained them to do many thousands of years ago… to the point today, it is built in today as instinctive action.

The wife saw Magic, our short-haired black cat, pursuing a rabbit. It was a young one and Magic was mostly just playing with it, knocking it “head over teakettle,” watching the rabbit shake in fear. It was a small rabbit, obviously one of this year’s birth litter. My wife decided to intervene and stepped in to save the baby rabbit. She caught it and wrapped it in a towel to make it feel safer, and placed it in a rather tall box. She placed the box and the terrified rabbit in the utility room in the house, setting it atop the washing machine, thinking it would not jump out of the tall box because it might be hurt, and it was so scared, plus the height of the washing machine above the floor was also rather intimidating. She planned to take it to the Pet Care Animal Hospital if, indeed, it needed medical attention.

Meanwhile, she had an errand to run and planned to return to the house before leaving again to join this writer and his cousins, Doris and Marsha, for lunch. When she returned, the baby rabbit was gone. It had hurtled the box with ease and then jumped the height of the washing machine to the floor, and managed to find a place to hide where no one could see it in a quick glance.

The main topic at lunch that day was how “Peter Rabbit” escaped not only the quickness of Magic but the confines of the box, then jumped off the top of our washing machine without due injury. 

Later that day, we came home and began to lift up, look behind and look under the many things in the utility room, and finally found the little brown bunny. We have a small cat carrier and, once again, wrapping the rabbit in the towel, we put it in the carrier and took it across the alley. We turned it loose under a large bush where a neighbor said she had seen rabbits gather and feed, where hopefully he would find himself in familiar surroundings and freedom.

Earlier in the week I saw Maizey, our first adopted cat, the small female that resides with our two larger male cats, go after a squirrel, swat it on its backside and send it tumbling before it scurried up a tree. She seemed well satisfied with that little effort, and left the area of the tree and returned to her seat on our front step.

Ah, it is spring in Indiana and the cats at our house are really enjoying the warm weather and the freedom of movement.

By the way, Magic showed no disappointment in the loss of what he considered a playmate. He promptly went to his favorite napping spot for the remainder of the afternoon.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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