On my way home from a dinner party last night, I crossed paths with one of the neighborhood cats. I know this particular Siamese well, and until yesterday we were on friendly terms. The cat crouched, utterly still, beneath the dull yellow wash of a street lamp. I started to say "hello" to Miss Kitty, when I noticed the cat's attention was fixed on something else.
I got closer and saw that the cat had cornered a tiny infant rabbit. Baby bunny was hunched up and terrified. I moved to intervene and the cat grabbed the baby bunny and ran.
I had never heard a rabbit scream. I didn't know rabbits could scream. But this tiny bunny screamed when the cat's teeth locked on its neck. The keening wail broke my heart. I tore down the street after the cat, shrieking like a banshee, commanding the cat to stop, thinking I was crazy and the rescue effort hopeless. But about two blocks down the cat did stop in a lawn and dropped the rabbit. It resumed the crouched, deadly watchful stance in which I'd first encountered it.
I crept across the dark lawn and lunged for the baby rabbit, this time managing to scoop up the kit before the cat could get it again. I cradled the baby against my chest and carried it home with me; both our hearts were pounding and I was close to tears.
When I arrived home my husband saw me and the rabbit and said "Wow, you saved the rabbit. I thought it was dead for sure."
Apparently my husband had tried to get the baby bunny away from the cat over an hour earlier without success. With this knowledge and what I read soon after on the internet - that domestic cats, not having to kill to eat, will torment their prey for hours - I was doubly glad I chanced upon stalker and stalked on my way home.
I'm even less of a cat person now than I was before.
And Dandelion is recovering at our house.
From his (I actually don't know the baby's sex, I figure s/he's been through enough without being subjected to a sex-determining inspection) size I think he's two or three weeks old. That's the age babies wander a little ways from their nest at night to find their own food in addition to nursing. I'm guessing that's when the cat snatched him.
Since I don't know where the nest or mother is I'm taking in this little orphan till he's grown to cat-beating size. Dandelion is named after one of the characters from my favorite novel, Watership Down, he's the story-telling rabbit who regales the others with the myths and lore of the rabbit world. Dandelion is a sweet little guy, who likes to climb up underneath my hair and go to sleep in the nook between my neck and shoulder.I've never had a rabbit before, I hope I do okay as surrogate mom.