(Disclaimer: If you have an especially soft spot for animals this may not be the post for you).
On Wednesday I came home with the intention I was going to hop into the shower just as soon as I put my purse down. Unfortunately Belle had dispatched a bird in the master bathroom and before I could shower myself I had to defeather the bathroom before any bathing could be done.
I know there are many, many pet owners (keepers? companions? I think owner might be politically incorrect but until she starts buying her own Kitty Chow I'm going with owner) that advocate keeping ones cat totally indoors. There are all sorts of reasonable arguments for it - mostly longevity. But to keep Belle in the house would be to kill her very soul. She is, and always has been, an outdoor cat. I think most cats, given the option, would prefer the call of the wild.
Of course I might be projecting since I can't even have fake birds in the many bird cages I have around the house - I have to leave the door to the cage open in case they want to be free. I may have been a prisoner in a past life. Or a parakeet.
Anyway - Belle is quite the hunter. However, normally she doesn't actually kill other creatures. She just brings them in for us. I think this is her attempt to teach us to hunt.
There was the time I walked into my oldest son's room and found a newborn rat sitting, looking rather bewildered, in a tray on the top of his television. It was so tiny and so still that at first I thought it was fake. Until it moved. I called my son and asked him "why is there a baby rat on your television?" His response? "Just one? There were five when I left." Turns out Belle had found some nest and brought him each rat, one by one. He put them on a tray (what on earth goes through the minds of teenage boys, anyway?) and then left. All five baby rats were eventually accounted for.
About a month or two later she brought in a grown up rat and let it go and it promptly took up residence in the insulation in my range. Every time the oven was turned on a scorched rat would come flying out the bottom, across the unsuspecting cook's feet, and hightail it under the kitchen cabinets. The kitchen would also be filled with the wondrous odor of cooked rat urine. I couldn't cook for about four months until we sorted that particular rat episode out.
She has a special fondness for reptiles. If I had a dollar for every lizard I returned to the wild I could hire the feline equivalent of Cesar Milan and my problems would be solved. Since I work from home I take a number of meetings over the phone. I was in a teleconference with a brand new client when Belle comes sneaking in with a snake in her mouth. She deposited it in the living room and meanwhile I am frantically instant messaging my Texan coworker (I figure Texans might know snakes), describing the snake. He assured me it was "probably not poisonous." I talked the snake into crawling into a paper bag so I could release it back into the relative safety of the ivy outside. The very next day she brought it back in. I swear it had to have been the same snake. I had to have a word with it about self-preservation and how it was going to be on it's own the next time.
Then there was the time I was up late, Rick having gone to bed hours earlier, I was sitting in the dining room on my computer, like I am RIGHT NOW, and I see her skulk by in the kitchen. She has a certain sneaky, low stride when she is bringing in house guests. Then all hell breaks loose when she lets go of a live bat and it is swooping around in frantic circles in the kitchen/eating area. Being the calm, collected person I am I ran screaming down the hallway to Rick (who was probably deep into some lovely REM sleep at this point). The bat flew into our great room (we call it the living room but at 20' x 30' great better describes the flying room the bat had) and continued it's breakneck circles around the room. There is just something about a bat flying near you that makes you want to hit the deck and cover your head.
Rick eventually crawled into the living/great room and opened all the sliding doors and it flew out.
Belle did it again a few weeks later. Fortunately I was down at my Dad's and missed all the excitement this time. I'm hoping it wasn't the same bat. Although I'm really beginning to see first hand how natural selection works.
You've been duly warned, if you come visit us. Watch out for the cat.