“He has something big,” Jon said as we sat in the car getting ready to go into town. Zip slid under the barn door taking his catch to a safe place to eat.
“Maybe it’s a pigeon,” I said, “do you think he could catch a pigeon?” “Or it could be a rabbit.” Minnie often left rabbit parts on the back porch.
Even though we know he’s hunting, Zip hasn’t left us any “gifts” yet. I prefer if my cat is going to kill an animal that they eat it. But I know I have no control over that.
When we got back from town I followed Zip into the barn, looking around to see if there were any remains from his morning hunting.
There’s a big old wooden crate in the barn that I’ve used to put firewood in and as a pedestal to display art at our Open Houses. Now it’s in the barn on it’s side, an old sheep skin (not one of mine) tucked into the corner.
One of the many places for Zip to sleep.
I found the dried out skin of a rat near it a few weeks ago, so I moved the metal pail that is in front of it and inside was a dead squirrel, its little lifeless eye staring up at me.
Zip gazed down at me from his perch on the hay bales.
“If you’re going to kill it,” I said to him, “then at least eat it.”
I had an orange tom cat when I was a kid who used to bring home squirrels. But seeing this squirrel surprised me. I guess I didn’t think Zip had it in him to catch a squirrel.
One of the reasons we got Zip was to help keep the farm clean of mice and rats. But of course, cats don’t just hunt the rodents we want them to.
I thought of the squirrel that Bud watches all summer long as it hops from one maple tree to the other. The same squirrel whose tracks I see in the snow headed out to the woods. The one who drops the hickory nut shells in the yard.
I hoped it wasn’t that squirrel but there’s a good chance it is.
That all happened in the morning. When feeding time came around in the afternoon I looked in the box hoping Zip would have made a meal out of the squirrel.
But it was still there, starting to bloat and stiffen. I got a shovel and scooped it out of the box. That’s when I saw two half eaten chipmunks.
Suddenly the cozy box I had set up for Zip to sleep in became a foxes den littered with left overs and future meals. I don’t mind the little stomach left on the doormat, but there was something gruesome about this.
I do understand it though. Zip lived outside the first year of his life and storing up food isn’t a luxury, it’s how a smart cat survives. As uncomfortable as I was seeing those dead animals, I was also impressed.
Still I couldn’t help think of Dr Jeckle and My Hyde. This is the same cat that follows Jon around like a dog and loves to cuddle with him.
And that whole Tuxedo Cat thing is misleading. Like he’s a gentleman or something.
Seeing Zip’s Lair was like when like when Beauty sees the Beast eating a deer in the woods, ripping apart the warm flesh, blood on his mouth. She is horrified at seeing the “beast” in him.
I buried the squirrel in the shade garden.
I’m still not sure if it was the right thing to do. It was just so big and I kept thinking of those little footprints in the snow. And really, we don’t need a bunch of dead animals stinking up the barn.
I imagine Zip isn’t so happy with me though. I just got rid of the stash he worked hard to get. Maybe he’ll find a new place to hide his carcasses.
Maybe I’ll stop looking for them.