Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cruel, Cruel, Nature

Dramas and documentaries that depict crime scene investigations turn shock value into intrigue and intrigue into ratings. I've long been a follower of some of these programs, shows like City Confidential and Forensic Files, and wondered what it would be like to write for such shows. It creeps out a lot of people but there's a certain element of comfort for me in knowing that science can catch bad guys.

But, not all of them.

Yesterday, not fifty feet from my bedroom window, something (coyotes or pit bulls) tore my nine year old cat limb from limb while I slept. I heard nothing while they ripped Lucy's little body to shreds and painted my lawn with her blood. They played tug-o-war with her and dragged her twenty feet this way and fifteen feet that way, leaving pieces of her flesh and fur in the wake of what must have been unspeakable suffering. There are no words for how gruesome and sickening the morning scene was or for my own grief as I bagged my little kitty's very few remains and hosed down the blood that looked more like it came from a slaughtered cow than a house cat.

I've seen enough crime scene shows to piece the evidence together, though. My cat never left my yard. Never. She usually slept in the house at night but for some reason she was outside, probably chasing mice and trying to do the same thing to them that was done to her. Irony? Or, circle of life? Either way, the dagger I feel in my chest is the same.

Recently, I've noticed the bunnies missing from the field behind my house. I thought they had gone underground because of the heat but now I wonder if they didn't fall prey to coyotes. When the bunnies ran out, the coyotes probably began feeding on backyard pets.

Or, it was the neighbor's pit bulls. There's no animal control to speak of out here and these dogs tried to shake a puppy to death a couple of months ago. My next door neighbor rescued the puppy and earned stitches for her trouble. But dogs kill for sport. This killing was about food. Lucy was a meal - or so the horror of the crime scene suggests.

Terrifying is the midnight potty break my Chihuahua often takes. She didn't appreciate it last night when I stood over her with a flashlight while she was doing her business. But I couldn't chance the cat murderers coming back for Mexican food.

Yeah, I make light of it, but don't let me fool you. I'm devastated. I jumped at every noise last night and even got up to let the cat in. She wasn't there. When the train went by and the coyotes yipped, I fell to pieces.

Coyotes have become increasingly brazen about boundaries. They've been urbanized out of their homes and in dry seasons, they starve when rodents go underground. Coyotes jump fences, creep into garages and make a meal out of anything wild or domestic that's smaller or slower than they are. Years ago, a little girl across town was playing in the yard with her new puppy when a coyote jumped her fence and snatched the puppy right out of her hand without ever breaking its stride.

Whether it was coyotes or pit bulls that took my Lucy matters not.

I own a shotgun.


Mike Scherer said...


Sorry for your loss. Bad enough to lose a pet/member-of-the-family, but to lose one violently -- very sad.

Best wishes,

Unk said...

I too have had quite a few cats fall prey to coyotes over the years. El gato is, to be honest, considered a gourmet meal by coyote standards and in multiples of 2 or more, they have learned how easy it is to anticipate a cat's movement.

I feel your pain... I brought 4 cats with me from CA to where I live now and all but one survived... A huge black male and even he suffered many a puncture wound over the years. Luckily, he's been able to figure them out a little better and being black might actually be helpful.

Coyotes do in fact rip to shreds... Same with the bunnies. So it does sound like they are the culprits.

When the food supply dwindles, they move into neighborhoods -- sending the female-in-heat in to lure unsuspecting males out to the rest of the pack.

It's never pretty.

I know it sounds crazy but I've found human urine poured around the boundary of the property to help but it has to be done a couple of times a month to work well.

If that doesn't work...

You can purchase a nice digital coyote call at Wally-World for $20. Pick up some extra shotgun shells and you're happenin'.


David Anaxagoras said...

My deepest sympathies, MaryAn. I grew up with cats -- we had seven in the house at our peak. My own cat, Alex, lived to be 23 and died peacefully one night on his favorite blanket.

Years ago we were burgled and all the cats got out of the house. We managed to round them all up except for Alex, who was a very good hider. When I finally found him under the same damned bush I had looked under twice before, I pulled him out by the scruff and cried uncontrollably for five minutes.

Cats have a way of getting their claws into you.

Rest in peace, Lucy.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

You people have no idea how comforting your words are in the shadow of this ghoulish event. Ah, the kindness of strangers...

Unk, as usual, you are a fount of wisdom!

I have NO SHORTAGE of human urine supply with all the men-folk in my house. Three of them paced the property last night with weapons and flash lights daring the nasty buggers to return. They'll be thrilled to learn that unzipping along the perimeter of the property is our best first line of defense. And, I don't have to worry about them accidentally getting gunned down by a neighbor who doesn't realize that all they're carrying are air soft guns, bows, arrows, and bricks. Silly boys. Not a one had a bat.

Unk said...

No offense but YOU HAVE TO PUT THAT SCENE in a screenplay...


Eddie M said...

Sorry, MaryAn. That sucks.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

thanks, eddie, really

Which scene, unk? Three teenagers and all their friends creating a pee fence along the perimeter of our property or sneaking out at midnight to fight off coyotes with bows and air soft guns? Ya know.. doesn't matter. Both work.

Unk said...



Anonymous said...

wow, sorry to hear that, what a tragedy...

Cheryl L. said...

so sorry...

Grubber said...

Hi Maryan,
Sorry to hear about your cat. Nature can be as cruel as she is beautiful.
Take care.

Fun Joel said...

Late on my blog reading, so I know this is already a few weeks old, etc. But just wanted to say sorry to hear about your loss. That's horrible. Hope you're doing okay.