Our Legendary Cat Twiggy was famous throughout the neighborhood for her extraordinary hunting abilities. She caught mice and rats in truly terrifying numbers. She apparently liked to bring them home and deliver the coup de grace on our front porch and then line them up in a nice little row. It was from her that I learned that rat brains are apparently a great feline delicacy since none of them ever had there heads and yet no other part of there bodies was ever touched. She liked to hunt snakes too and we'd frequently find them on the porch as well. Usually they were just black or garter snakes but on different occasions I found one coral snake and 2 pygmy rattlers. I compared the coral snake to a picture in the encyclopedia just to make sure it wasn't a king snake, and it was a coral snake alright. On another one of her forays into the night she came home with a bat! After that episode I made doubly certain that she was always up to date on her rabies vaccinations.
Yeah, Twiggy was a tough old bird for sure. And speaking of birds, we just couldn't keep her away from them. Even though we tempted her with ever kind of cat food known to mankind (or catkind for that matter), even though we dangled chicken and turkey from the deli and roast beef from our own plates in front of her she could not be dissuaded from hunting and eating birds. She didn't let them go to waste, she always ate them. Her other great culinary treats were junk food. She loved popcorn, potato chips, peanuts (cats can't chew peanuts but that didn't bother Twiggy she ate them anyhow )along with green olives, cheese, mashed potatoes, watermelon, and spaghetti but only if it didn't have any sauce on it. She'd eat spaghetti like a little kid would, pick up one end and the just suck it up into her mouth--it was hilarious to watch. But back to the birds for a moment. We tried to stop her from getting at them, we honestly did our best. At one point she had a collar with no less than three bells attached to it, but Twiggy was nothing if not patient and by the time those birds heard her it was too late.
She hadn't always had the luxury of being able to be patient and bide her time. When she came to us she was a pitiful stray, a tuxedo cat who didn't even weigh 5 pounds and yet looked as if she was going to pop out a littler of kittens at any moment. My best guess was that she had probably been making a comfortable living at the old drive-in theater until it had shut down. There would have been lots of junk food to eat and lots of rodents as well, but then it all went south for her and she found herself pregnant and desperate for food and desperation makes poor hunters. So we fed her and I took her to the vet the next day. We didn't have a cat carrier but she behaved like a perfect lady, thank God, I was expecting that I was going to be shredded by the time I got to the end of the drive way. Any normal cat would have come unglued in a car, let alone a stray cat, but I guess she knew what side her bread was buttered on. (She also liked to eat that by the way.) She was in perfect health with only a mild case of hookworm and she purred so loudly through the exam that the vet gave up on listening to her heart.
Sure enough, less than one week later she presented us with 7 kittens and 1 stillborn. With a few meals under her bulging belt she had already started earning her reputation as a hunter and so finding homes for her off-spring was no problem at all, everybody wanted one of her kittens even though we warned them that Twigs hadn't bothered to teach them how to hunt.
There was more to Twiggy that hunting though. She was an incredibly clean cat who looked at the litter box she was forced to share with 4 other cats with absolute disdain. She would have literally preferred to explode rather than use one, and this did seem as if it might become a problem as she became a bit older and she liked spending more nights at home and less time terrorizing innocent fauna. (She'd taken to bringing home rabbits and possums in her old age so we were glad she was hanging around inside more even though we feared for the carpet. Then one day I happened to see Twigs coming out of my mother's bathroom where she had apparently been while my mother was taking a shower. Twiggy paused in the doorway and then went back and looked in the shower. At the time I thought she was going to try and get a drink. A few days later I understood the reason Twiggy had gone back to look at the shower when I saw her in the bathroom standing directly over the drain and peeing! She had been watching the water going down the drain! Like I said, she was a very clean cat as well as a very smart one and she loved the idea that the urine would just go away. I'm positive that if we had known it was possible at the time, that Twiggy would have been one of those cats who could have been taught to crap on the toilet. She undoubtedly would have flushed too.
Twiggy was with us for over 13 years and was the healthiest cat we ever had. I chalk it up to her diet of junk food and birds, but sadly it was that same diet that led to her death.
As I said earlier everyone loved Twiggy when they saw the frightening number of rodents she managed to turn up in our neighborhood. Gradually she had to go further and further from home to hunt and then the rodents would move back in and someone would knock on the door and ask if they could borrow her. I'd pick her up off the couch and carry her over to the utility shed in question and put her down in front of the rat hole in question where upon Twiggy would invariable cower in terror and run back home. Both the neighbor and I would look at each other, shrug, and go back home. But within five minutes if that neighbor looked out his window he'd see Twiggy lurking behind a bush in his backyard, not even waiting for night to fall.
So how did she die? Everybody loved her except one old man and he hated her because she killed birds. One time he swerved his car seven feet onto our front lawn trying to run her over and instead almost got my four year old daughter whom he couldn't see because he was too intent on the cat. Several years later Twigs was gone for well over a month and we assumed the worst, but one day she showed up with a huge scab on her side. It must have been at least 5x4". I took her immediately to the vet and he confirmed what I already knew, that she had been hit by a car and that the scab was the result of her skin being torn off as she skidded on the road. It's called road rash. The vet was amazed that she hadn't become infected and died. Most cats would have died, either from shock or from the infection. But Twiggy was a most unusual cat. The vet also found at least 10 BB pellets in her. The truth is that I can't say for certain how she died. We had her for another 2 years after that incident. I can only say that one day she never came home again and that a certain old man seemed very pleased with himself.
One thing is for certain and that is I'll never have another outdoor cat , there are just too many dangers out there. With Twiggy though it was never an option. She just couldn't be contained, she was born to be a hunter no matter how hard we tried.