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April 17, 2007

A Small Reminder That One's Adorable Furbuddy is in Fact a Merciless Predator


At the garage door this morning: Not one but two wee dead baby bunnies, laid out symmetrically, paws facing each other.

Let me repeat: Baby bunnies.

And the cats will do it again. Without remorse.

Which is what the cats are supposed to do -- remember we do live out in farmland, so every small rodent and lagomorph the cats get is one less in our garden or pantry. They're supposed to be working cats as well as pets.

But come on: Baby bunnies.

Poor bunnies.

Posted by john at April 17, 2007 07:32 AM

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Cassie | April 17, 2007 07:44 AM

Spare no pity for bunnies. They eat gardens.

I'd say that the cats who have done this deserve extra treats.

And beside, it's obvious that they're worshiping somebody, bringing their offerings to you.

Steve Buchheit | April 17, 2007 07:54 AM

They just want to let you know that while you're away on tour that 1) they still love you (even with the bacon thing), and 2) they can provide sustenance for your family.

Steve | April 17, 2007 07:59 AM


Peter | April 17, 2007 08:12 AM

That's nothing. About four years ago I was renting a room in New Jersey, and one day I heard a thumping from upstairs while my landlady was out. I go upstairs, and find one of my landlady's cats in the bathroom watching a live baby bunny running around the bathtub in a state of terror. The cat had apparently caught the baby bunny alive and carried it into the house, up the stairs, and into the bathtub...just to watch it try desperately to scramble up the side of the bathtub only to slide back down, over and over again. It was like a feline version of Buffalo Bill.

John Scalzi | April 17, 2007 08:15 AM

It's dinner and a show!

Jim Millen | April 17, 2007 08:43 AM

Paraphrasing Terry Pratchett:

If cats looked like frogs, we'd realise what vicious b*&!*$!s they really are.

Beth Meacham | April 17, 2007 08:44 AM

When we first moved to Tucson, we let our cats out during the day. One of them found Baby Bunnies the first spring. She brought them into the house alive, at least three of them, in order to Teach the Stupid Humans to hunt. She watched approvingly as I caught them, but was disapproving when I took them outside again. I turned them loose. She went out and caught them again, and brought them into the house again.

More bunny catching ensued. I took them much farther away from the house this time. She went and caught them again. That time was too much for their baby bunny hearts, and they died. The cat was disappointed.

penwing | April 17, 2007 08:47 AM

Sounds like you have the basis of Rabbit Stew there...

x x

Synedrian | April 17, 2007 08:49 AM

Did you make rabbit curry? It's great.

Adam Lipkin | April 17, 2007 08:55 AM

As one of my favorite fictional character noted, they got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses. So they probably had it coming.

The really disturbing thing is the dead-bunny-arranging that the cats seem to have taken up.

Stan | April 17, 2007 09:05 AM

Baby bunnies are apparently very tender - they're a favorite of many cats.

My cats spent too much of their childhood as indoor only cats and have lost part of their hunter instincts. They catch just fine but don't associate it with eating so they don't kill them except by accident. Ever try catching a mole or chipmunk in your house? One chippy managed to last 3 days before I caught him and put him outside - he probably gained at least a level from it.

clvrmnky | April 17, 2007 09:16 AM

It always fascinated me the way our working cat (rodent patrol in a downtown store) would line the mice up in a /very/ particular row for us in the morning.

One set of mornings she got a whole family. Over the course of 2-3 days she captured and killed larger and larger members of a group until one morning we came in to find four dead mice, lined up next to each other (like you see in old west photos of captured/killed outlaws) from largest to smallest.

Mike Timonin | April 17, 2007 09:17 AM

She decided to share the bunnies with you? That's sweet. When we had bunny catching cats, they used to eat them. Often as we watched. Mice, voles, and dormice on the other hand, were just for fun.

Nick | April 17, 2007 09:24 AM

Could have been worse. Could have been a severed baby bunny head gazing up at you with glazed eyes (the rest of the baby bunny having been eaten when kitty became peckish between meals of Science Diet).

In Norway, you can buy bunny-flavored Friskies. I don't think I've ever seen them here.

Dan Bailey | April 17, 2007 09:29 AM

My cat, Pixel, turned out to be the best mouser I've ever owned. When I lived in Philly, the mouse problem in my apartment lasted three days. The final morning, I woke up to a chattering cat who had laid out seven decapitated mouse bodies on the foot of my bed. ("Aw! Nice kitty!")

I think the part that disturbed me most was that I never found the heads.

Chang, the real O.C. | April 17, 2007 09:30 AM

The look on Arglebargle's face is sooo gangsta.

"I will stun you bitches into submission and suck out your souls."

Or is that typical Friday night for Nathan?

clvrmnky | April 17, 2007 09:35 AM

Another funny Kat Killer story:

A friend woke up to quite a commotion one morning and found his tiny cat, recently with a little family of her own, battling a /woodpecker/ in their kitchen. The cat was so small the bird was dragging the cat into the air in a desperate attempt to get away, pecking and flapping.

Turns out the cat (who hat a little cat-flat in the basement) had done some early morning hunting to provide for her family, and had knocked out a bird that was bigger than her, and dragged it into the house. It must have gained consciousness at one point, and that's when the real fight started.

My friend separated the two and somehow got the terrified bird outside. No one is sure if the bird survived, as it could barely fly when she was through with it.

One day I'll tell you the story about the time I was working at a health-food store and broke the news to a vegan that her cat was /not/ a vegetarian. You see, she made her own cat food, and only from food she ate herself plus some milk, so fluffy was obviously an ovo-lacto vegetarian. Since most vets will tell you that cats do not have the gut to properly digest most vegetable matter to any sufficient degree, and /need/ meat regularly to survive, I asked her if the cat went outside.

"Of course", she said. "It would be cruel to lock her in the house. Fluffy needs her freedom."

I suggested to her that her cat was not a vegetarian, because rodents and birds were meat, at least the last time I checked.

She was horrified. And not convinced. This was a /moral/ choice, y'see, and her cat was /good/ and had aligned itself with the morals of a group of primates with (supposedly) much larger brains than carnivorous mammals.

I guess I just told that story. Sorry about that.

Buck | April 17, 2007 09:35 AM

My mom used to live on a ridge overlooking a creek's floodplain. The county was doing some flood control construction and it stirred up all kinds of beasts.

It's one thing to find dead mice and bunnies lined up, but I was finding sewer rats as big as the cat. Ironically, a small possum figured out how to use his cat door and eat his food, and he didn't mind- we found out when we saw them both eating out of the dish at the same time.

Josh Jasper | April 17, 2007 09:43 AM

Symmetrically, eh? Cool.

Now, if the cat starts making crop-circle type paterns with deat prey, then you should be worried.

Tracey C. | April 17, 2007 10:12 AM

My friend Kelley has a spirited adolescent tomboy who really likes catching baby bunnies for his mom.

"Little Bunny Foo-Foo" part 1:

She went outside to call him for dinner, as he hadn't shown up as usual, and saw him making his way down the street towards her in a funny way. He would walk a few steps, stop, do something, walk a few more steps, etc.

When she got closer, she could see that he was kitten-carrying a baby rabbit, who kept struggling and almost getting loose, hence the stop and re-adjust every few steps. Said bun was relocated.

"Little Bunny Foo-Foo" part 2:
One evening, lil' hunter-killer walked in the back door with a baby bunny which he proudly deposited at his mom's feet, and which then promptly ran underneath the (extremely heavy and difficult to move) couch (which the cat could not fit underneath). After trying to coax (or shoo) it out for a while, they decided to leave the back door open a little in hopes that it would run out when the coast was clear.

The next day, no bunny. Safe, they figured.

A few/several/many days later, my friend went downstairs into the basement (the door of which had a cat door cut into it, as the litterboxen were down there), and found something on the floor she couldn't identify. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a large, somewhat lumpy but mostly flat, furry circle.

Apparently, el-HK had gotten the bun down into the basement and then played "pounce". Again. And again. and again.

Thus endeth the saga (thus far) of LBF-Fs and my friend's cat.

Steve Buchheit | April 17, 2007 10:18 AM

Josh Jasper, I've never seen my cat make crop circle patterns with the hunted, however some of the piles have a stiking reselmbance to Jackson Pollack paintings. The cat must have been getting into my art history books while I'm at work.

Simon Haynes | April 17, 2007 10:21 AM

I'd be worried if the cat starts skinning the things and dipping them in resin.

marciepooh | April 17, 2007 10:32 AM

I'm lucky, my outdoor cats don't bring me dinner. Of course, I feed lightly to bring down the local rodent numbers.

Mom (a couple hundred yards down the way) complained last summer that I was feeding the hunters too much because she was having a baby squirrel explosion (figuratively speaking). I told her I didn't have any problem (I've never had a wood rat in my attic, either), so obviously I was feeding exactly the right amount and she needed to get her own cold blooded killers. Maybe cutting down on the number of bird feeders would help, too.

Barry | April 17, 2007 10:32 AM

"Could have been worse. Could have been a severed baby bunny head gazing up at you with glazed eyes (the rest of the baby bunny having been eaten when kitty became peckish between meals of Science Diet)."

Ah, yes. The ol' half of a rabbit on the front porch (cat decided it wanted a 'doggie bag', so to speak). When I was a child, I asked my mother why we didn't have a cat door. She said that finding various half-eaten critters on the front porch was bad enough; finding them indoors would be too much.

Hilary | April 17, 2007 10:57 AM

My neighbor has a scitzo cat ( your hand is never safe) that has gotten into the zen of mousing. Fred (the cat, not he neighbor) likes to eat only the brains of the mice he kills. So what you have is a dead mouse with the top of the head bitten off and nothing inside.

Jenny Rae Rappaport | April 17, 2007 10:58 AM

Hey, at least your cats catch things... my kitten couldn't even get the mouse that briefly visited our house. Although she did let us know it was there, by very bravely stalking the fridge... =)

Giant Squid | April 17, 2007 11:14 AM

If it's not rodent body parts it's regurgitated (what looks like) meat. That's how a stray in my neighbourhood paid the rent (it sleeps in my front yard).

I'm glad lions never got around to being domesticated.

Andy Richardson | April 17, 2007 11:36 AM

My father's indoor/outdoor cat liked to stalk the goldfinch feeder he kept outside. My dad and I were sitting at the kitchen table watching the cat and just as my dad said, "Watch him jump. He never gets them, but keeps tr...Holy Crap!" All that was left was two gold feathers floating down. It looked like a Tweety Bird cartoon. The timing was absolutley perfect.

BTW, I just finished OMW. I generally don't like sci-fi, so I wasn't in a real hurry to get it, but it was the greatest book I've read all year. I laughed out loud over and over. I even woke up at 5:30 to finish it within 24 hours. I figured I would like it since I like the site so much, but I never thought I would LOVE it. I can't wait to get the others.

Regan | April 17, 2007 11:42 AM

I think Glaghee is standing at the edge of the river that I'm assuming is your front yard, hoping there are fish. ;)

JonathanMoeller | April 17, 2007 11:43 AM

The cats would kill us all, if they got the chance.

That's why I always keep a dozen buckets of water filled at all times, in case the day of the Great Cat Revolution comes at last. Just in case, you know.

Julie | April 17, 2007 12:19 PM

Mmm, yes. Our indoor/outdoor cat used to leave little offerings, usually entire bodies, on the lawn or the doormat as well, but she'd eat them too. One day, after I wound up with a $90 vet bill because she got tapeworms from eating the little buggers, I lectured her about not eating the guts so we wouldn't have to go through that again.

And that's when I started finding digestive tracts on the lawn and the doormat. Yep, she'd eat the entire thing...except for the guts. Sometimes she'd leave the heads too.

One day, I saw her playing with a mouse by our apricot tree. She'd chase it around the trunk for a bit, it would run over under the picnic table, and she'd pick it up and carry it back over to the tree. She killed it eventually and then meowed to be let in. I told her, nuh-uh, you killed it, you eat it. Then you can come in.

And she did.

She was a strange little cat.

Chris Gerrib | April 17, 2007 12:31 PM

Not a cat person, and this may be a stupid question. When one has a group of cats, do smaller / lower status cats leave food for the bigger / higher status cats?

I'm just trying to understand how this "leaving prey out for the human to see" behavior got started.

Steven desJardins | April 17, 2007 01:03 PM

About five hundred rabbits were killed in Hungary a couple of days ago, after a truck carrying them hit another vehicle. Thousands more shut down a major highway. Despite the best efforts of the National Disaster Defense Directorate, about a hundred rabbits remain at large.

John Scalzi | April 17, 2007 01:04 PM

I'll ship my cat over. He'll take care of it.

Jeff K | April 17, 2007 01:08 PM

Many moons ago we had set up a card table on the front porch to play games, it being nice spring day, kind of like today.

We watched with increasing horror as my housemate's cat caught baby robin after baby robin. There were at least four chicks he brought to us. They were stunned but still alive. We think it was 'learn to fly' day at Mom Robin's.

I seem to recall reading that our primitive ancestors' bones have been found scattered in big cat dens. We used to be the prey.

Captain Button | April 17, 2007 01:58 PM

Barry wrote: When I was a child, I asked my mother why we didn't have a cat door. She said that finding various half-eaten critters on the front porch was bad enough; finding them indoors would be too much.

You may be pleased to know that this problem is being worked on:


(computer controlled cat door)

Mel | April 17, 2007 02:04 PM

Yes, yes, cats are monsters (but I love them no matter what).

My aunt owned a chihuahua. Until the day she decided to visit me - and my cat who was totally ecstatic about the fact that my aunt brought her a live treat!

No, the aunt still won't talk to me. After five bloody years!

Ray Alderman | April 17, 2007 03:43 PM

When I lived in Illinois, the cat would bring in small field mice every so often. Usually alive, so she had an interactive play toy. Once I came home from work and the roommate was complaining that a mouse the cat brought home had run away and was hiding inside the upright piano. They roomies had tried for a few hours to get it out but no dice. I sighed, went to the garage, and pulled out the shop vac. That mouse had quite the ride 30 seconds later.

Stephen | April 17, 2007 04:38 PM

The local neighbourhood cats all used to wander through our garden. Then we got a rabbit - a french lop, a very large breed of rabbit. All the cats now seem to have found more attractive places to walk.

Buck | April 17, 2007 05:33 PM

Chris Gerrib:

Cats teach their young how to hunt by delivering stunned prey animals to them. Our cats seem to be trying to teach us how to hunt.

As to leaving dead animals or animal parts, that may be the same as bringing food home to their children.

As I understand it, we domesticated dogs by hijacking their pack instinct and supplanted the alpha position holder. For cats, we've sort of prolonged the mother/baby relationship, keeping cats in a perpetual infancy on that social level. Of course, to a certain degree, it goes both ways- the size ratio of an adult human to a cat is roughly the same as an adult cat to a kitten, whereas the average cat is about the same length and weight of a newborn human. So who domesticated whom?

Mike Cane | April 17, 2007 06:53 PM

Geez, is no one here a city person? You just haven't lived until your cat captures a ginormous waterbug and you hear the CRUNCH!CRUNCH!CRUNCH! of it disappearing in her mouth.

At least the cat is smart enough not to offer THAT as an offering!

Ben | April 17, 2007 07:32 PM

I would prefer to see a photo of the bunnies, but then, people say I'm morbid and disgusting.

Elyse Grasso | April 17, 2007 09:22 PM

I live in the country in a house that is... porous. Cats keep the place habitable.

My (indoor) cat Dinah eats mice and Iams dry cat food and won't eat canned cat food. She is also is picky about her mice. Even when she eats the whole rest of the mouse, she generally leaves a jelly-bean like organ I suspect is the gall bladder.

And I sometimes wonder what the criteria are for eating partial mice. Sometimes I find the front half. Sometimes I find the back half. Frequently I find the head, gallbladder thingy and a chunk consisting of the hips, hind legs and tail.

I definitely spend too much time watching 'Good Eats' I have this vision of a feline Alton Brown explaining the benefits and use of the different 'cuts'.

Joyce Reynolds-Ward | April 17, 2007 11:05 PM

Well, and then there's our house rabbit, a Mini Lop buck, who's been the terror of the local cats (primarily in April when anything that moves that happens to be furry Must Be A Doe).

Wild rabbits are one thing. But domesticated European rabbits tend to boss cats around when both occupy a household. Interesting.

(and the smaller the breed, the more pugnacious!)

Tania | April 18, 2007 02:48 AM

My bunny killing kitties extend their regards to Lopsided Cat and his mighty prowess on the hunt.

I've tried to train them to eat on the porch, and not bring things into the house to eat. Honestly, at least twice a month I'll be asleep and dreaming about someone eating nachos. Then I'll start wondering why the heck I'm dreaming about someone eating nachos, and realize that the cat must have a critter, and they're eating it in the bedroom. I wake up, take the dead animal with prancing/chirruping cat following out to the porch, clean up any gore, wash my hands, and go back to bed.

Does anyone know why they start on the heads first? The best I can come up with it that it's like a Cadbury Egg - crunchy shell, lipid filled center.

Scalzi -- make sure you get both cats regularly checked for worms and tularemia. Just to be safe.

Cassie | April 18, 2007 08:23 AM

A belated addition to why cats should kill bunnies.

http://www.uclick.com/client/sea/lio/ April 18th comic.

Shelley | April 18, 2007 10:40 AM

Fast food. Makes perfect sense to me. At least you know you are very loved. Two (count 'em) two baby bunnies..... And probably a very grumpy mom bunny out there. Watch out for the Revenge of the Mom Bunny coming soon to your neighborhood.

BigHank53 | April 18, 2007 12:23 PM


For those of you who need to view kitty leftovers.

Bryan Price | April 19, 2007 04:36 PM

We have all these lizards (brown and green anoles) here. We've had our share of love offerings of them. Dead. The live ones are the play toys that the bring in. I catch those and let them outside. We have a cat door, which saves on letting them in and out (6 of them!). We also wind up with birds. They bring in living birds that we then have to catch and release. They tend to leave the palmetto bugs (big, huge cockroaches in other words) alone. I tend to just throw them out the door if I can catch them. But they just usually come in through the cracks and open doors.

Our black and white mail looked like he had something hanging from his mouth. I tried to get it, but it wouldn't budge. I finally got it off. It was a lizard who had snapped his jaw firmly shut on the cats fur. He only got half eaten. I threw him into the yard; there wasn't really anything to save. He almost survived.

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