You probably know how cats will bring home trophies to share with their owners? A dead mole here, bird remains there.
Yesterday afternoon, we had a twist on that theme.
It was J who brought home a dead cat, a 8-10 lb gray tabby in full rigor mortis.
Because he knew I'd know what to do with it.
I appreciate him having faith in me, but I told him that I can't bring it back to life OR find it's owners if it doesn't have a collar. And I wasn't going to dig a hole, either.
He said he got it half a block away, next to a car in the parking lot. I told him the best thing would be to put it back where he found it, maybe the owner would look for it. Although it was stiff as a board, it looked recent - it's eyes were clear and it seemed to have been hit by a car, with internal injuries, rather than it being mangled by a dog.
We have a few strays around here; I've seen some going in and out of the sewer. I put my mis-purchases of cat food, our kitty's rejects, in Lean Cuisine dishes on the sewer top for them.
(I am turning into that old cat lady neighbor.)
However, I don't think this cat was one of the strays. Come to think of it, we have a reclusive neighbor with a couple of indoor cats. I've never talked to her, but maybe she's missing one. This cat looked very healthy and well fed. Pretty coat and eyes.
J had been wearing his snow gloves when he toted the cat home. To carry the cat back, I gave him some gardening gloves, which he put on with great ceremony, went outside to the stoop, and wrapped his little hands dwarfed by the adult gloves around the poor cat's ribcage, holding it away at arm's length. He met his friends out at the sidewalk, them surprised that he was coming their way with the feline stiff again.
When he returned home a few minutes later, he said they put the cat in an old tire by the creek. Little biologists, they wanted to be able to check back and see bones. I'll be honest; I'm relieved they're relying on nature to do the revealing for them.
I know moms who are frightened of their kids experiencing death. That sheltering frustrates me; I am lucky in the model of son I got and his ease. He has never been fearful that way, but I don't think he's a sociopath either, thank goodness. When he was less than two and still in a stroller, we watched for 45 minutes as a water snake painstakingly devoured a green and yellow frog, who we could hear long after he was gone from sight. I'm glad J's good on life cycle things and he can enjoy documentaries like Winged Migration, Parrots of Telegraph Hill, and March of the Penguins with me. As sentimental as he is about his menagerie of stuffed animals, he takes death naturally as being a part of life.
If only that didn't include leaving me presents at the doorstep.