An interesting occurrence took place on Wednesday afternoon. It seems that a large crow took it upon itself to attack a rabbit and it’s two kittens (Yes, that’s what they are called! I checked!) It was loud and raucous enough that the rabbits thumped against the front of the house a couple of times and caught my wife’s attention. The end result was that one kitten was killed on my front lawn and the mother bolted and took off. The second kitten was found some time later, wedged beneath the wheel of our recycling bin. It didn’t happen that a rather large, fat orange cat reminiscent of Garfield, was floating around like a scavenger, looking to reap the benefits of the carnage.
I came home from work early that afternoon, and my wife was able to show me the remains of one of the kittens as well as the remaining kitten that I was able to confirm was still alive and trying to wedge itself as deeply beneath the wheel as possible. It was obviously frightened and possibly in distress, so I reached out to social media to seek assistance as to what I should do. I also contacted my City office to seek guidance as they might have access to animal control and humane society resources that I couldn’t easily access on my own.
Some people over social media were quite helpful and provided contacts for certain wildlife rescue and animal non-profits. Others, not so much. It was very reminiscent of how far we’ve fallen as a society, where people still find something negative to say even when the situation very clearly involves helping another fellow living creature. In fact, the vast majority of people who commented basically told me just to drop this poor, vulnerable thing back out in the open and come what may! Although it makes sense and I learned as a child that one should never interfere with the process of nature, this felt different.
I ended up helping the kitten get out from under the wheel of my recycling bin. I had a small, wide clear plastic box that I lined with a small dish towel, a small bowl of water and I even went to a local pet store for advice and bought a small bag of timothy hay for the little guy to snack on. The intention was to keep him protected until I got some constructive advice on how to proceed. That constructive advice wasn’t forthcoming, with even the animal advocate groups I had reached to, telling me to just put the kitten back out in my front yard where I found him. Unfortunately, I DIDN’T find him in my front yard and rescued him from his predicament.
One thing that was frustrating was how many people were trying to explain that the mother returns only twice a day to feed them and leaves them be, otherwise. I kept trying to explain and correct that the kitten wasn’t found hidden under a bush or in a den, waiting for momma to come back with food. This was an active situation where the momma and the babies were being attacked and killed. This changed the dynamic for me and I felt that since the mother had bolted, it may have changed it for her, as well.
The one wildlife rescue group I messaged, and obviously I won’t be naming any of these organizations because I’m not trying to shed negative light on them, basically told me to leave the kitten outside overnight and if it was still there and alive the following morning, that they’d consider picking him up. Given my personal beliefs, I feel that I have a significant respect for all life and I couldn’t bring myself to just drop this guy outside and go sleep in my warm, safe bed. I was taken aback with how little regard people had and how little they were concerned.
When my 7-year old son realized there was a baby rabbit in the garage, the reaction was exactly what one would expect from a child. He was excited and fascinated and almost immediately started rationalizing why Fluffernut would make a wonderful pet. I had to explain in no uncertain terms that he was a wild rabbit and we couldn’t keep him and had to try and get him back to his mother. With no constructive information coming my way from any source and a lack of understanding otherwise, my wife and I agreed to bring him inside for the night, leave him in the makeshift bed we provided and see what the morning would bring.
While I was doing dishes in my kitchen, which overlooks our driveway and front yard, I suddenly noticed three large, adult rabbits sitting on my driveway. I was caught off guard as I’ve often noticed one rabbit at a time in our front yard but never sitting on our driveway and never in such high numbers. Were they looking for Fluffernut? Were all the heartless idiots online right and I should have left him outside? I retrieved Fluffernut and brought him outside. My plan was to put him under the base of our pine tree and let the rabbits retrieve him (if that was the goal).
As soon as I started trying to set him down, he started making panicked noises in my palm, which didn’t help with the heartbreak I felt at just ditching him outside. I begrudgingly left him in the shelter of my pine tree and retreated to the house. I prepared my children for bed, watch a bit of television with my wife and tried to make my peace with the chaotic and sometimes seemingly cruel nature of, well… nature! My wife and I eventually went to bed and the day had ended, rabbits and all.
I went outside almost immediately the next morning and noticed that Fluffernut was nowhere to be found beneath my tree. Although I’ll never know what actually happened, I like to think the mother came back and retrieved him. There are more lessons to learn about this whole scenario than I could possibly write in one post. But the most important to me, is that we’re all living in the same world. Although many would have argued that we should have just left all of this alone, being willing to allow a vulnerable creature to be killed or die needlessly, especially on my property, is what’s wrong with the world. Compassion, caring and the reduction of suffering could NEVER be a bad thing. I’ve unfortunately discovered that the majority of the population in my city haven’t learned that lesson. ☯️