Once upon a time, when we were kids, a big mean tomcat adopted us and moved into our apartment. But this is not about Harry; it is about the tiger cat Mom got for us after Harry passed away. I named her Zephyr, but we all ended up calling her Zee.
Keep in mind this was back in the days before people knew quite everything, and were not quite so free with their harping. Nobody lectured you about what a horrible person you were if your dog or your cat went outside (unless the dog was mean) and nobody got on message boards and expressed moral outrage because somebody dared feed their pets Purina.
Zee was a big kitten, and half wild. She’d been fending for herself at the greenhouse around the corner where she had presumably been dumped. She was also already pregnant. I was holding her when her water broke. A short couple of hours later she had given birth to three kittens, and we couldn’t keep the fleas off them. Back then there were flea collars and flea powder and flea spray, but you couldn’t use any of it on kittens. The vet said to wrap a flea collar in a towel and put it in the nursery nest, but she kept moving them from place to place. The kittens didn’t live long. We had Zee spayed right away.
(I think of those kittens whenever I frontline our animals, and I wonder if there are better ways to protect newborn critters now.)
She never quite got over it, and spent every spring for the rest of her life hunting baby rabbits from the litters born under the neighbor’s shed. Not to kill. To adopt.
Thing is, a wild baby rabbit doesn’t want to be adopted by a predator. They scream. And scream. It’s horrible to hear, at least for humans. We’d make her turn them loose and put them back by the shed so they could get under cover.
Zee adapted. She started taking her adopted bunnies high into trees.
Ordinarily a rabbit maybe gets a chance to scream once, and then the predator finishes them off. There is nothing quite like the sound of a baby rabbit screaming it’s death scream in a tree…and it goes on and on and on, because Zee isn’t trying to kill it, although she killed several that way when she either dropped them or fell during an escape attempt.
This photo is probably a tame kitty and tame bunnies. The bunnies are probably not terrified.
But I wonder. Because sometimes I can still hear those bunnies screaming.