14. Tails & Wings I: “She was Made that Way by People!”

“Uncle Randy, I just saw a cat under the log-holder.”

“What,” I thought, rolling my inner eyes, “do they not have groundhogs in Minnesota?” Five or so woodchuck pups had once crowded the landing by our screened-in porch, maybe taking shelter from hawks. But my other grand-niece issued a verification: “There are four kittens.”

cats Lady 3

So to help us celebrate the Fourth of July we had a scrawny black-and-white mother who herded four mainly-ebony offspring. These squatters succeeded the cat Tuxedo, whose game leg made its home here for eight weeks until it was placed in someone’s home by Darcy, the Cat Lady. (She earns that nickname not for any resemblance to the whip-packing burglar of the comic book, but for her devotion to placing and otherwise caring for homeless felines.) All of our cats seemed to have been dropped off by the Unknown Citizen. The very person who hoists sofas into dumpsters or rolls tires into the river.

I thought of shooting the animals, a step that acquaintances have taken, but too much violent noise and motion. (To help with this decision, I remembered blasting a large, torpid, rattler that shared a narrow bank of the Little Pee Dee River.) Drowning? After sixty years I could still feel the baby rabbits struggling in the pail of water under my hand, a job assigned by my father, safely at work in Chicago. Continue reading