Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

A Little Bit of Perfect.

Posted on | October 14, 2011 | 7 Comments

It was bound to happen.  Even the cutest of kittens has a tendency to spread his claws and kill.  But, still, my heart dropped when I happened to glance out the window during my morning coffee and saw Little Bit dragging a body through the woods.  It was bad enough I woke to the chickens pecking up the freshly laid grass seed by the ditch.  And that I discovered the daylily bulbs I left on the counter overnight had been heartily chewed on by the dogs.  (Are daylily bulbs poison?  If so, do dogs have to eat them to get the poison?  Or just lick them and bite off the green sprouts?  Do I really want to know by googling it or do I just want to ignore it and hope for the best?)   Of course, my coffee filter had collapsed during brewing, leaving me with a cup so full of grounds that  I was forced to put in 200 calories worth of Almond Joy flavored creamer to drown the taste.  And now this.

I had told the children that Little Bit would have to go if he started killing chicks or ducklings or keets.  It just wasn’t possible to do anything else.  He couldn’t be a solely indoor cat and I couldn’t have him butchering everything that hatched.  I had thought that the ferociousness of the mother hens and ducks and guineas (they used to chase him off their young with brutal attacks) when he was a kitten would dissuade him.  But apparently now that he had filled out, so had his appetite.  The little gray body swinging from his jaws was sure to be one of the 8 week old keets, just starting to stray from their momma.

I immediately sent the children out to investigate because:

1.  That’s what they deserve for getting up so early on a day they’re off school.  Especially since they promised me they’d sleep in when I let them stay up the night before to watch Transformers 3, um, The Little Mermaid.

2.  I already have grounds in my coffee.  Don’t I at least deserve a break from dead bodies???!!!

While the kids were checking things out, I surveyed the contents of the pantry and wondered if they’d be up for oatmeal after their gruesome morning task.  Figured I’d better go with Cheerios.  There’s no mistaking that for guts or brain matter.  But even after the bowls and spoons were set out, the children hadn’t returned.  I went back to the window and saw, to my horror, that they were dancing and skipping around Little Bit,  dragging the dead body through the leaves for him to chase and swinging it above his head for him to bat, inbetween ear rubs and chin scratches.

I rushed outside because:

1.  In their overtired, desensitized-to-violence (darn that Transformers 3 Little Mermaid) minds,  they apparently forgot that Little Bit was not to be rewarded for killing the farm animals.  Killing guinea keets was bad, bad, bad!

2.  The leaves are starting to fall and if the neighbors can see the kids cavorting with dead bodies in their pajamas, there will probably be another call from the social worker.  And that whole incident with the snake heads on stakes around the nest boxes was difficult enough to explain.

“WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING????” I screeched from the deck, in my best Roseanne Barr imitation.

“Look”, they exclaimed, “look, look, look what Little Bit killed,” and flung the body at my feet.

Could it be?  Could it really be?  That our incredibly easy to care for, incredibly sweet barn cat was smart enough to know not to kill chicks or ducklings or keets?  That somewhere inside that little bitty head of his, he could distinguish between the offspring of the farm and the nemesis of the farm?  That blackberry-stealing, gourmet-bird-seed-gorging, feed-trough-foraging, feed-bag-gnawing, tulip-bulb-eating, enemy of all things sacred to a successful farm and garden.  Could it be that Little Bit, in his infinite wisdom, had hunted down and killed…..


Hallelujah, can I get an Amen!  Let the dancing and singing commence!  Our Little Bit has made the passage from adorable kitten to successful barn cat.  Let the mice and rats in all the feed rooms quake, let all the moles and voles in carrot patches tremble, let the  squirrels cower in their holes in fear, a warrior has been born and we call him LITTLE BIT!  (Hmmm….he might need a name change…)

So, as it turns out, not all days that start with grounds in your coffee, are destined to end badly.  And because Little Bit is an absolutely perfect cat, he did another amazing thing.  After he had exhausted all the fun in the dead squirrel,  he calmly carried it into the pasture to Bruno, the livestock guardian dog.  He laid the squirrel by Bruno’s feet, allowing Bruno to scoop it up and carry it around joyfully all day.  A squirrel!  Those miserable creatures that have tormented dogkind since the beginning of time—happily cavorting in the yard but dashing up the tree trunk to safety in a the blink of an eye,  gamboling from branch to branch in the canopy without a care for any dogs barking helplessly below.  Bruno had heard tales of dogs capturing squirrels but he never thought he, a lowly and  humble member of the working class, would know the bliss of that fluffy tail hanging from his jaws.  He carried that squirrel until his jaws ached from trying to smile around that furry little carcass.  I know you don’t believe me that he was smiling.  So I’ll show you a picture.  But don’t show anyone else.  And I’m deleting it from the My Pictures folder.  ‘Cause you never know when that social worker is going to stop by…


7 Responses to “A Little Bit of Perfect.”

  1. Jennifer
    October 15th, 2011 @ 4:52 am

    OMG! I am laughing so hard! The JOY of the dead squirrel – who knew! lol

  2. Gwen
    October 15th, 2011 @ 8:24 am

    Hilarious – great post!

  3. Beth Lowe
    October 15th, 2011 @ 8:32 am

    I almost spit my coffee all over my computer screen because I was laughing so hard. What a great story. Having had a Great Pyrenees as a companion dog, I know that longing look when they just know they aren’t getting that squirrel. Yay for Little Bit! Truly a funny story that you told so very well.

  4. Annabelle
    October 15th, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

    YOU are the best!!! please write a book??? PLEASE? 🙂 thanks!

  5. Jean H.-T.
    October 15th, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    I second Annabelle’s request! I can see you promoting your book on the TV circuit now….

  6. Liz [Vic Aust.]
    October 22nd, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

    Love the ist pic so put it as my week front screen. Get through the funny yarn and it was just as well there was no coffee (nearly tea time). Reminded me of my Blossom (Pyr) wth her bone parade face on. Very funny.

  7. Kelsie
    December 12th, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

    I can’t believe how incredibly sweet it was of the cat to share such a kill with his friend…who btw is GORGEOUS…I dream of the day we add a GP to our barn yard…Maybe the tax refund with stretch far enough this yr for a fence and a dog 🙂

    Well done Lil Bit

    Blessings Kelsie

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