One fine evening, in Maryland, I was sitting out on the patio taking in the dying light of sunset and enjoying the quiet, when I heard a squeal. Turning around, I expected to see one of my boisterous nieces with her squeeze toy. To my surprise, it was our pet cat, Pinico, approaching with a wild rabbit in his jaws.
I admit, I was conflicted about this. Part of me felt bad for the cute, little bunny. But, another part, also understood that nature was (to quote poet Tennyson) 'red in tooth and claw'. Besides, wasn’t I always telling our (semi-wild) pet cat not to beg for food, all the time, and go out and hunt?
So, I toughened up and watched, incredulously, as our sweet cat dropped off the seemingly lifeless bunny at my feet. Then, to my even greater surprise, he turned her back on her catch and sauntered off. Was he making an offering, gifting me something that he appreciated, as a way of saying: Thank you, for taking care of me?
The small rabbit, initially frozen with fear, began to thaw and soon darted off for dear life. Undeterred, our little tiger, Pinico, bounded after the poor thing, in hot pursuit. I was relieved, but not for long. Moments later, our cat emerged from the nearby rose garden with the unfortunate bunny dangling out of his mouth. Again, he deposited it at my feet!
Was he playing with his food, or was this sport? Was our cat trying to offer me a present he thought I was too dumb or slow to recognize? Yet again, Pinico patted the bunny on the back, like fixing food on one's plate. And, once more, he turned his back on the toothsome treat and strolled away.
Amazingly, the bunny-of-many-lives had the wits and courage to take off again and, this time, my domesticated hunter was unable to recover his living toy/fast food/offering. I left our cat, in our neighbor’s lot, looking stumped as he pawed at the rabbit hole where the little fellow had disappeared into.
I hope you enjoyed this little natural drama that I managed to capture (in the 4 short videos, above) thanks, to my trusty iphone :)