Faithful readers know that I have a certain...affinity for lizards. (Note on link: apparently my inability to insert links has been due to my using a Mac; i'm updating tonight on my PC and lo and behold, there's a BUTTON that says INSERT LINK. Hm.) Today was a nice, low-key Saturday; I slept in, moved to the couch, surfed and watched; watched and surfed; napped. I had my back door open just wide enough for Jess to get out (pretty wide, OK?) and the kitties were frolicking in the backyard. I let them do this sometimes. After a while I happened to glance into my kitchen just in time to see Piper prance inside with something in her mouth and plop it proudly on my new kitchen carpet. It was too long to be a bug. Too thin. I knew instantly what it was. A silent scream formed on my lips: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!
I raced into the kitchen and looked down at the motionless lizard. Piper was so proud, she was twirling around between my ankles and chirping at me. She'd probably spent HOURS stalking this poor reptile, and she was so pleased to bring me her kill. I couldn't be mad at her, it's instinctual and all. But I was mad at myself, for letting my guard down and letting them frolick in the yard long enough to get into trouble. Inside, I keened with grief, while outside, I chirped back "good kitty, very good hunter, sweet piper." Kids - you can't tear them down for your own mistakes, y'know??
I gingerly picked up the narrow, smooth lizard. It was not a majestic spiny one, oh no, it was a svelte color-changing gecko. This one was half brown and half green, frozen forever in his panic at being mauled by a giant furry monster with a slight limp. He blinked at me, but didn't move much. He had the telltale stump where his tail should have been. Dammit. A signature Piper move. I sighed and took him outside, gently setting him underneath a bush in the shade. He blinked, but again, didn't move. There was nothing I could do this time -- he was too small to be saved. I knew the one fang mark in his back had done too much damage -- he wasn't big and strong like Mr. Lizard had been.
I sadly shuffled back inside the house, only then realizing I was in my pajamas and underwear. Oh well. I didn't care.
The moral of this story? I don't know if there really is one. It was a stark example of the rigid food chain of the animal world. I could only be partly blamed for letting my kitties outside on this beautiful Saturday; if it hadn't been my kitty, it would have been one of the neighborhood cats who hang out in my yard sometimes trying to give my inside kitties a heart attack. Cats will always hunt lizards. That is the cold, hard truth.
However, I couldn't stop myself from going outside to check on the lizard, several hours later. And? It was gone. I don't know how far or how, for that matter, but it makes me happy. Who knows, maybe it will be alright. Or maybe not. Some things I'd just rather not know. In life, this defense mechanism is often impossible and foolish. But when it comes to lizards and cats, it works just fine for me.