“Meeoooooooow!!!” I heard coming from the basement bathroom as I carried an overflowing basket of dirty laundry to the washing machine. I turned and looked to see Jax, our dopey tabby, laying on his side on the tile floor, batting his paw half-heartedly. Now, I’d watched enough Tiger King to know that this was clearly not normal cat behavior, Jax favored micro fleece and my pillow as his relaxation locations of choice, not hard floors. Something was up.
After starting an endless load of sheets and towels, I sauntered into the bathroom and saw a small puff of brownish fur, about the size of a moth ball, chillin’ like a tumble weed on my floor. It wasn’t there yesterday. Jax had now changed positions, and any good Joe Exotic apprentice would know that he was in prey position. Crouching like a not so hidden tiger. Something was definitely under there!
Since I’d spent my morning self-learning how to express my dog’s anal glands via a vet on Youtube (Grover’d been obsessed with his poop chute for days), and recruiting Girlchild (who wants to be a vet) to help me put these new skills in to play, I felt it was perhaps Captain Schenanigan’s turn to take one for Team Pet. I lured him from his dungeon office with promises of unknown adventure, and then bravely stood in the bathtub behind him as he laid on the floor and peered under the shelf.
“Yup,” He declared, “There’s something under there, and it’s not coming out with Jax around.” He threw the cat out of the bathroom and closed the door. Magically, Jax opened the bathroom door and walked right back in like he was one of the kids. Taking this as my out from the crap show that was about to go down (picturing rabid, mutilated squirrels zooming around the room at break neck speed and requiring painful vaccines), I snatched the yellow dummy, handed Captain a plastic bag for his defense, and gracefully exited the room.
Hauling Jax upstairs, I declared his misdeeds to the kids, and deposited him in the living room. I noticed my shirt is unusually covered with cat hair, and informed Manchild he needed to brush his cat, since it’s spring and he’s blowing out his winter-ish coat. Part-time outdoor cat = part-thick winter coat.
A few moments later Captain Schenanigan, ever our hero, ascended the stairs to present to us Jax’s prey. A tiny baby bunny. Having raised only about 8 billion baby rabbits in our backyard, I recognized that this one was big enough to make it on his own, not dependent on milk anymore, and could survive without his mama. Which is good, considering we don’t actually know where he came from (or how he ended up under the shelf in the basement bathroom, for that matter), and I had zero interest in wildlife rehabilitation.
The bunny, save for a little blood under it’s nose, looked reasonably okay. It’s skin was intact, it was alert though frightened, and per Captain Schenanigans, all it’s limbs appeared to be in working order. Yay for small miracles.
We selected the perfect location of brambles with no foot traffic or dogs, and lots of weeds and trees on our neighbor’s hill to release baby Thumper. It only took a second before this tiny bunny had hopped it’s self away and out of sight from our four pairs of staring eyes. A success story! Well, at least for the rabbit.
Back inside the house, Manchild trapped Jax and proceeded to groom him with a pet brush, for maybe the first time in either of their lives. I’d never seen a cat grimace before, but Manchild was all business at his task, and despite my demonstration on gentleness, preferred his utilitarian methods of cat ownership. I felt little sympathy, to be honest.
I’d settled back into my typing, when the sounds of a crying cat registered from some far off place in the house. Since Jax is a very vocal cat, this was nothing new. I figured Manchild was giving his grooming skills another shot. It barely registered in my mind as Manchild cruised through the kitchen, asking where we kept the rabbit nail trimmers, and disappeared again. I had tried trimming that cat’s nails alone exactly once. Jax could handle himself against an 8yr old boy with a set of clippers and a dream.
Back to blogging, I finish and post for the day when my son proudly stands before me and declares ” I washed the cat and trimmed his nails! I was nice, I even used hot water!!”.
Our jaws go slack and drop open like cod fish. What?! How did we miss this? But the look on the face of one soggy, angry, shame-filled tabby let us know our sins would not soon be forgotten! Manchild proceeded to tell us in great detail how he went about his pet grooming process, which included a purple loofah and a bar of homemade hand soap I’d received as a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law. We dissolved into laughter, we couldn’t help it. This child was determined and amazing, and we were lucky to have him. The cat, on the other hand, had decidedly learned his lesson about bringing baby bunnies into the household, and moseyed off to lay low for the rest of the day. He spent the next hour licking his fur and waiting for it to dry. Lesson learned about not flying under the radar of enthusiastic cat owning boys.
Ya can’t say he didn’t earn it!