The One That Got Away

It’s Man Cat Monday and the gang is all here.

Merlin: What did I miss? One minute I’m lazing in the sun on the porch with Layla. She’s reading the paper enjoying a quiet Mother’s Day when we hear a blood-curdling shriek.

Odin: I know! The bugger wouldn’t shut up. I’ve never heard something that small cry so loudly. I tried to carry it in my mouth without hurting it to give as a perfect offering for Mother’s Day.

Gris Gris: What kind of gift gives to one mother by taking away from another mother?

Merlin: Is that a Zen koan like what is the sound of one hand clapping?

Domino: Enough philosophizing. It is what it is. That was an impressive feat except this time the prey got lucky.

Odin: Lucky? I dropped it like a nice boy because Layla asked me to.

Merlin: Stop your bickering boys. This tiny bunny is the one that got away. It tricked fate for awhile but has a destiny we can’t know. Look at it as a reminder of how close the line between life and death is every day.

Odin: So, it was a good gift then?

Gris Gris: Well it was a Mother’s Day Layla won’t soon forget.

Layla: Yeah, typing one-handed with a creature in the palm of my hand all day. Thinking it was a vole at first. Trying to feed it with an eyedropper. Feeling its hairless belly wriggle with life on my skin. Feeling as helpless as this blind¬† creature with it’s heart beating next to mine. Its body no bigger than the fetus that fell to the bathroom floor many years ago. Thanking God for Google. And a cashmere nest, a repurposed cat-proof bird cage cum rabbit hutch. And a nearby wildlife rehab. And the will to live despite the odds.

rabbit-baby-cat wisdom 101Epilogue: at 10am. I auto post at 1:00am ET. After all evening in my hands, little bunny’s life was not in my hands. I placed him inside in a cozy nest on top of a hot water bottle, in the center of an decorative birdcage next to the third floor guest bed where I slept. I wanted to be nearby in case of what i don’t know. In a dream, the birdcage was wide open and two cats sat nearby. Alarmed and angry that the cage was open, I realized the cats were doing no harm and the bunny was alive.

I awoke to Merlin’s sharp claw kneading into my chin to wake me. I pushed him away. He’s never done that before. He returned, relentless, wake up! He knew something. “He’s dead isn’t he?” Just then hubby shows up and peeks in the cage and confirms it. Bunny looked peaceful, his body slack and cool to the touch. I take him into the garden, feeling hot tears and cool grass dew on my feet. Earlier in the spring I’d planted a created memorial of two willow trees by the location Merlin’s sister Coco was euthanized. I’d placed a broken dish with a scene from Noah’s ark. The broken pieces symbolized how everything eventually breaks, no matter how beautiful or perfect.

Odin watched as I dug a hole in the moist earth. He expressed no interest in the dead body or remorse. I pleaded, “Please no more babies!” The moment the words left my lips their real meaning surfaced. I’d never had the opportunity to bury my miscarried baby from many years ago. By placing bunny lovingly wrapped in fresh leaves and returning him to Mother Earth, brought closure. There’s more to this story but all I’ll add for now is how grateful I am for my cat teachers.

21 thoughts on “The One That Got Away”

  1. Oh Layla…you’ve moved me and touched my heart. ::tears::
    “What kind of gift gives to one mother by taking away from another mother?”
    Now that is going to stay with me forever. It has more meaning to me than you know.

    I’m so sorry for your loss those years ago and for the sweet bunny. But I am grateful for the story you’ve shared.

    xo Glogirly

  2. Oh Layla I am so sorry…so deeply sorry about your miscarriage and I am so sorry about the baby bunny…you did your best…this was so beautifully written and so touching. I am so sorry.

  3. Baby bunnies are very hard to hand raise, even if they do not have any broken skin. They get stressed so very easily. We are glad you gave it some love and compassion during it’s short life.

  4. Oh, Layla, on so many levels, babies, Coco, Mother’s Day, the tiny newborn…I am so sorry to hear about your miscarriage and the grief you carried all these years, but what a gift from your felines, especially your youngest and “damaged” himself, Odin. The story will certainly continue.

    1. Thank-you for understanding the deeper level and yes, the story will continue and probably find its way into my cat memoir.

  5. That was such a little cute bunny. I’m sorry to hear about your miscarried baby. I think Odin was worried about you and wanted to help you.

  6. Oh, poor bunny–but lucky to have been gifted to you. I hope the rest of the rabbit’s nest is safe from more visitations. Perhaps mommy bunny was moving her babies to a safer location and this one was accidentally left behind–or detoured onto your lap? I’ve seen it happen with feral kittens quite frequently.

    Happy Mother’s Day and keep us posted!

  7. Not what I thought! Yes, they do scream loudly when their lives depend on it, I remember from my cat growing up who hunted rabbits all the time. I forget you are far enough north of me that your seasons are later; our bunnies are much bigger than that by now!

    Your boys are very wise, and I’d guess the true gift was the lesson. Hope the bunny makes it to live out its destiny.

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