We love our cats. We love our Great Horned Owl, too. But they don't love each other. Well, one of them does, but not for reasons we particularly are fond of. This was brought home to us this week.
She seemed to be eating okay and getting around all right, so we kept an eye on her until a couple of days later, she went missing. That wasn't like her, since she was always around, once she'd chosen this as her home.
When the second morning dawned with no Tinker Belle, the thought went through my mind that perhaps she was really ill and had wandered away to die, as cats have been known to do. But later that afternoon, there she was, right on time for the afternoon feeding. This time, she let us pick her up and she seemed to be back to her normal adorable self.
We found an inch-in-diameter open sore on her back, near the base of her tail, that was starting to scab over. Since we'd been meaning to take her in to find out if she'd been spayed by her previous owner, this seemed like a good time to get her to the vet. (She showed up here several months ago, with a collar, and in asking around, no one knew who she belonged to.)
He looked at her and said it looked like she'd probably had a puncture wound and that it had abscessed, burst, and was trying to heal. A round of antibiotics were in order and we left the office with an appointment for about ten days later to have her spayed.
I arrived to pick her up after the neutering yesterday and Vicky informed me that I'd be surprised when I saw Tinker Belle. While she was under the anesthetic, the doctor had shaved the wound area and cleaned it out. As he did so, he found many more puncture wounds. When Tinker Belle was brought out, my only reaction was, "Oh my..."
Poor little baby. What on earth had she come into contact with?? I took her home and Romie and I discussed it. A dog? Perhaps, but with the number and nature of the wounds, that didn't really seem right. But there are any number of things out there that can be dangerous for little kitties.
Raptors are known to snatch cats for food. There are reports of cat collars being found in eagles' nests. (I couldn't find any substantiated reports of this in a quick Google search - only hearsay.) Owls are raptors too, and are apparently much more likely to grab cats than eagles, from what I could find out.
We'll never know for sure if it was our owl that did this to Tinker Belle, but given the fact that Hootie hangs out here on a regular basis and we've heard him quite a bit lately, it's a distinct possibility. We'll never know what happened to Jilly either - yet another of our cats that was not known to wander.
|We're calling the feral cat Bandit. If I hadn't been inside the |
house, taking this photo with my zoom through the front
door, I could never have gotten this photo.
We do what we can for them: neutering, vaccinations, flea medication, feeding, medical care when they need it. It's expensive. But we choose not to take them somewhere that we know they'll be euthanized in three days. The no-kill shelter is always full. Several of our cats spray. You wouldn't want cats spraying in your house either. So we provide a place for them to get out of the weather outside.
We do the best we can. But sometimes things happen. What we really wish is that people would take responsibility for their animals, because sometimes they end up being that of someone else.