I am not writing about bunnies today only because tomorrow is Easter and lots of us may be eating them—the chocolate kind, that is. I am also writing about them because it is spring, and they are among the wildlife cavorting outside my window.
We have always had rabbits around here. For years there was a family of them that made a home in my backyard amidst the wilderness at the rear of it, where a steep slope made gardening hopeless. Big brown rabbits would hop by our back deck, not much caring that humans were within ten feet of them. Sometimes one of them would sit in the middle of the back yard in the middle of the day, for hours. Like he thought he owned the place.
My cat, in whose view the property was his, period, thought these rabbits were really uppity. You may not know it, but cats and rabbits have very similar bodies. Their bone structures from the neck down are spookily alike. Anyway, my cat thought the rabbit family took liberties in his territory that he could not allow to stand. It annoyed him in ways the incursions of birds, rodents, snakes, turkeys and even dogs did not. He did not hunt them so much as challenge them, the way he would a cat that stepped over the line. They would get into fights.
My cat did not always win. Rabbits are fast and have big teeth and claws, after all. My cat had war wounds, nipped ears and scars that I am sure were inflicted by the big bad brown daddy rabbit who was the pater familias of the group we hosted. I mostly know he did not win because the rabbits did not leave.
I would have preferred if the rabbit family moved because these rumbles often were loud and vicious. Also, there was the whole baby bunny problem.
My cat did not kill the bunnies right away when he got them. First he sort of adopted them. I would see him strolling by in the spring, carryng a bunny by the scruff of its neck, kitten style. The little bunny—and they are very little when babies–would be flailing away, its tiny paws swinging wildly, while it squeaked.
Of course I had to interfere. It was a bunny, for heaven’s sake. Not a mouse (go get ‘em, cat) or a mole (hey, cat, living here ain’t a free ride, ya know) or even a chipmunk (ok, I will confess that despite their scandalous over breeding—they muliple like, um, rabbits—and the way they turned my yard into underground condos, I did sometimes save the chipmunks too). This was an adorable, furry, cute as can be tiny bunny.
So I’d go out there and chase the cat who could run pretty fast with a bunny in its mouth. Eventually I would corner him, and he would drop the bunny who would freeze out of fear (no, don’t play dead! Now is when you run!) Cat would then have a wonderful time dodging me as he tried to decide if that bunny was a relative or dinner. Finally I would grab cat and carry him away, so the bunny could escape. All of this took at least half an hour each time.
By the end of summer those babies were not babies anymore, and the cat was no longer interested in adopting them. Late at night there would be sounds of a fight out back, but I knew it was not another cat being challenged for violating my cat’s territory. He was facing off that bunny, who was now as big and brown and bad as his dad.
Have you ever eaten a rabbit? When you eat a chocolate one, do you treat the ears as the best part?
What is your favorite kind of candy? Any special or traditional treats in your house tomorrow?
I will give a signed copy of The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne to one comment poster today.