Aw, Kitty is All Growed up!

October 14, 2009

We interrupt this blog silence to bring you the following fast-breaking news story:

howlsquirrel1

This is what I saw when came downstairs this morning. If you are an indoor-cats-only person or a squirrel lover, set aside your disgust for a moment and marvel with me at a tenderfoot kitty whose first kill is a grey squirrel. Which he then drags through a cat flap set in a basement window over a counter, holds while he leaps 3′ down from the counter, carries clear through the basement, up the stairs, and deposits on the breakfast room carpet.

First I simply turned around and left the room. I needed a minute to decide: should I give Howl positive reinforcement for hunting, or negative reinforcement for bringing the thing in the house? Positive, I decided. Delight and pettings. Until we moved to this area where they are a filthy, fearless, overpopulous menace and a gardener’s nightmare, I never minded grey squirrels. Now I would say that the difference between a dead squirrel on the porch a dead squirrel on the carpet is mere quibbling.

My next thought was, “Shoot. Der Mann took the bus to work today. I’m going to have to pick it up myself.”

Cats usually preen at you over their kills. Ours was clearly thinking, “What the hell just happened?!” He was all big eyes and nervy mincing when I praised him. He wanted it to move again. Once he even crouched under the rocking chair and gave it a half-pounce before sidling away. It must have been bigger project that he expected. It didn’t occur to him that he could eat it.

Howl spent the first 15 months of his life as an indoor cat. (The fact that he had never seen dirt before was a tip-off.) With three months outdoor experience, he still gives a bit of the impression of Marie Antoinette playing at rustic life. He picks his way over rocks and clods then shakes off each of his feet as if to say, “Oh dear. I really must get some boots for this sort of thing.” Gawps at stuff out in the open. Is scared (thankfully) of cars, but stalks a full grown dog. Races up trees for no reason like a kitten. Courts the local cats with interest, then faces off with them and loses.

The squirrel was a first for me too. First big-ish dead thing. I called my step dad to find out whether I should put it in the garbage, or what. I didn’t want to bury it in the yard because I am still planting everywhere, and it would be gross to dig it up by mistake in the spring. I was informed that garbage can or interment is a matter of choice.

Would you like to hear the gory details? Yes? I went to the garbage and fished out some of the burlap trimmed from a nursery tree. I folded this over itself a couple of times and threw it over the squirrel, followed by the big spongy plastic bag our computer monitor came packed in. Then after a false start the first time I touched the dead meatiness of the bulge in the center of the pile, sort of rolled it all up and stuffed it in the nice thick plastic bag my husband got from the art supply store last night. Then I twisted it up and put a twist-tie on it, and tied it shut with a knot for good measure. That way, I figured if the squirrel was just in a coma it would at least expire painlessly instead of trying to get out of the garbage can. It was still warm.

I e-mailed Der Mann a picture, and he sent back these:

squirrel slayer_1

squirrel slayer_2