Of cats and rabbits, oh my

Ironies have always caught my attention. Whether they’re big or small, they seem to say something about life.

Since relocating from Colorado’s West Slope, my home for most of my adult life, to my boyhood home on the Front Range, I’ve found it ironic that I see more wildlife in this urban area of a little more than a million people than I did in a much less populated area many might consider teeming with wildlife.

Granted, the wildlife here is likely more limited than what is found in the less inhabited parts of the state, but there sure seems to be more of what I do see most often – geese and other birds, squirrels and rabbits. I’ve also seen a couple of foxes and some deer in the winter. But it’s the geese and rabbits that seem to have become kind of the unofficial mascots of the Front Range.

This isn't my cat chasing a rabbit. Hope the little Bugs Bunny made it!
This isn’t my cat chasing a rabbit. Hope the little Bugs Bunny made it!

Case in point was the other night, when my cat, Ares, caught his first live rabbit. He’s been stalking them for a while since the weather warmed up and came across what I’m pretty sure was an already dead little bunny about a month earlier. Luckily, I was also outside the other night, mowing the lawn, so I caught him with the live rabbit and managed to get him to drop the rabbit before any visible damage to the little guy, who ran off.

I know cats are hunters, so getting him to stop stalking the hopping prey will be impossible. Unless I keep him inside all the time, which I don’t want to do. He’s grown up outdoors and I like to see him enjoying the sunshine and watching nothing for hours on end.

I keep him on a long leash, attached to the clothes line so he can reach most of the back yard. That limits his hunting ground somewhat. But if Bugs wanders within leash range, that’s going to likely lead to danger. For the rabbit and Ares.

We all know the phrase “breeding like rabbits” and that’s definitely true with the ones around here. So if Ares catches a couple of them, what’s the harm? Just ticks, potential disease and tapeworms, according to my veterinarian. I recently read about a disease among rabbits being found at a high level on the Front Range, so there’s that to worry about.

I looked into the various tick and flea treatments you can get and have always tried to avoid harsh chemicals when it comes to my health. So the more chemical treatments are the ones I don’t want to use on Ares. I know they might work better than the more natural treatments, but why should I treat my cat any differently than I do myself? He’s like family, too, you know.

Rabbit repellent sprays are also an option, and I’m waiting to see how effective one of them might be in keeping the little animals away from Ares.

All this just seemed ironic, since in all the years I had Ares on the West Slope, in a much smaller town, the only thing he caught was one hummingbird. I got rid of my hummingbird feeder to help solve that problem, but don’t see a similar option in this case. And it just kind of changed my perspective on what you can expect in life.

Cat Rabbit 1You see all kinds of videos and photos of different animals that you usually think wouldn’t get along playing or whatever. Some of them make me wonder if they’re remotely true. I suppose some are, some aren’t. But the natural order of things still seems to be how animals relate to each other. The hunter and the hunted.

I just didn’t expect to see it played out in a metro area more than I did in Small Town America.

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