A painful death

Sekhnet is very protective of the little mother kitten in the back yard.  The little beauty is about nine months old, all alone, and raising three kittens she gave birth to a few weeks ago (you can see their recent baby pictures here).  A very good mother, by the looks of it.  Talk about babies having babies.   We’ve seen several generations of these feral cats, it is rare that any live more than a year or so. This one is a beautiful cat who lives in Sekhnet’s garden where she is now raising her offspring.  

We could easily get her adopted– except that as she was born wild and abandoned young, she does not let anyone touch her.  She seems to be a diminutive serval cat, more wild than most, closer to her wild ancestors than a cat that will jump into your lap, as affectionate Cathead, who lasted about a year in the wild, used to.  She eats from a spoon now, looks at us expectantly when we come outside, doesn’t object to me petting her kittens and will occasionally brush against you, but is not trusting enough that anyone would risk having the little beauty as a pet.  Hard to have a pet you can’t pet.  Nor could we catch her without somehow trapping her.  Plus there are the kittens she’s now caring for.

So it’s tricky not getting attached, and at the same time being protective.  Sekhnet is fiercely protective, and so, while I was in the back checking some brussel sprouts on the grill I heard Sekhnet yell in her most threatening growl.   Raccoons, the usual troop, were fighting in the yard next door.  Sekhnet, thinking they might have been threatening the kittens, yelled to chase them off.  As she ran to the front of the house she startled another raccoon that was in her driveway.   Then I heard a heart-rending scream from Sekhnet and dashed to where she was.  “It’s Skinny Tail!” she wailed in despair, her favorite raccoon, the underdog, undersized, an outcast.

Lying motionless in the service road was a raccoon, there were no cars at that moment.   Cars come flying down that stretch of service road at ridiculous speeds, assholes in a hurry.  There should be speed bumps on this section, and cameras to catch speeders, but there aren’t.  Sometimes cars come by at 50 miles an hour preferring horns to brakes.   “He’s still alive!” Sekhnet wailed, through her tears, and I saw the raccoon was indeed breathing.  I felt an instant of relief as I saw it shake its head.  This is going to have a happy ending, I felt myself think.  A second later he staggered to his feet, took two steps and then Sekhnet screamed.  A speeding car ran him over but somehow didn’t kill him.    

Completely fucked him up, though.  He fell on to his back in obvious agony, hands pulled up on his chest as though praying, but every part of him seized by paroxysms, like in a Russian novel, the soul struggling against the agony of the body.  His legs kicked as his head jerked on the pavement, drawn up hands twitching in agony.  It seemed to last an eternity.  It was incredibly painful to watch and impossible to look away.  Another car hit him finally and blood poured from his mouth.  He didn’t move any more.

Poor Sekhnet was wailing, as she went out into the road to prevent cars from pulverizing the dead raccoon.  I gave her my flashlight, which I’d been using to check the grill and then to spotlight the raccoon, and she kept it trained on the little corpse as she continued waving cars around the body and crying.  I called 911, then 311, told them the story, was told they’d eventually send somebody from animal control to collect the little cadaver, could be up to 48 hours.  Sekhnet later told me I should have said the animal was wounded, they’d have come sooner, because a wounded animal is dangerous.    

Meanwhile she couldn’t stop crying and waving at the cars to go around the body.   I noticed the dead raccoon’s thick, bushy tail.   “Sekhnet, it’s not Skinny Tail,” I called, then, after a moment trying to console her, went to get a shovel.  With multiple flashlights and Sekhnet directing traffic I managed to get the dead animal all the way over to the far side of the service road.  

He’s lying there now, white marked face facing toward the oncoming cars on the drivers’ side, by the far curb.  Lying on his side in a comfortable sleeping pose against the far curb he looks peaceful.  It would take a drunk asshole or sociopath to hit it again, though there are always those flying down the service road too.


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