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Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Headless Chipmunk

Having a large clan of cats can be problematic if you don't have enough space.  It  can lead to stress in the cat which can lead to health issues such as bladder inflammation causing bloody urine or difficulty urinating.  It can lead to cat fights which result in bite would abscesses or inappropriate elimination in the house.  Well, we have a large clan of cats in our house and we have seen all of the above and more.  To reduce the stress in the house, we take advantage of the garage as part of their living space.  We have a two car garage that is attached to the house so it is very easy for them to move in and out at their leisure.  We often leave the door open, especially in the warmer months so they can come and go.  The great thing is that they love the garage and we don't have to put them out there against their will.  I think it is a bit like going on vacation for them.  There are different things in there to explore, lay on, and hunt.  Ah yes, hunt.  The true ecstasy of the feline who is a carnivorous predator by heart.  It is in the genes.  Over the years, many critters have lost their little lives venturing into our garage as they weren't warned by friends and family of the dangers that lurk under the garage door.  The bird seed was too tempting for them. 

On occasion, we have had chipmunks in the house when we left the door open between the house and the garage.   It is not a secret for long as you can hear animals scratching across the floor at a maddening pace and then find statue like felines peering under the furniture just waiting for the opportune moment.  The more hilarious part of this story is the humans trying to fetch the little creatures and move them back outside and at the same time trying to keep the cats from grabbing them and murdering them in front of us.  I'm sure it is great fun for the cats but something I do not want to witness.  We actually had a recent chipmunk adventure which fortunately resulted in a live release.  If only there were video..........Two humans trying to trap it under the chest and chase it into a bucket, it escapes...the female human screams and the cats start chasing it around the house.  Fortunately, the little guy went under another piece of furniture and this time we were successful in luring him into the bucket.  I'm fairly certain he won't venture back into the garage.  It was probably a life changing experience for him. 

Last week, two critters did not escape from the wraths of the feline hunters in our garage.  I saw a tiny field mouse four paws to the sky one night when I went down to check on the cats.  It was the middle of the night so I didn't want to engage in disposing of the little guy.  I expected to find him in the same spot the next morning.  Well, not so much.  All I found the next day was the tail.  I have to guess that the feline hunter was supplementing his high quality dry diet with a little fresh meat.  Gross but at least I didn't see the blood shed.  Not two days later, I walk out to the garage to dump some trash in the bin and when I go back in........a headless chipmunk!  Now remember I am a veterinarian used to seeing guts and all that but this was icky and I could have stepped on it!  I don't care for little critters to start and especially dead ones with no head and organs hanging out.  I would have to have a chat with my feline predators.  First of all, the head has the least nutritional value and the most bones while the organs have the highest nutritional value.  Maybe it is the result of having no practice from living the life of a spoiled house cat and I suppose it would be like a child testing out different foods to see what tastes good and what doesn't.  I have no problem with that as long as they don't vomit things back up.  But my biggest message to the fierce predators is don't leave it on the door mat because I do not want to step on it!