It was a shock and sadness, therefore, to find, when I got up yesterday, a half-grown baby rabbit outside my bedroom door, quite and recently dead. Felix the Cat was guarding it, with great pride, and he became very angry when I took the animal away, rushing straight back to the burrow to catch another, compounding my concern at the predation still further. I covered the entrance with a loose board, and vegetation, but even now, as I write, Felix is waiting there in the hope that another kitten will emerge for him to catch.
I talked yesterday of shedding burdens, and I thought hard about the responsibility I felt for the welfare of the rabbits and also for Felix, who when in a feral mood can eat prey so voraciously he becomes ill: there was nothing more I could do to protect the rabbits and, for Felix, I knew I had to be as normal as possible so that he would not feel in disgrace or unloved, letting nature take its course, and hoping that the rabbits would move away after this onset of attack. It helped to check on the internet and to learn that young rabbits are vulnerable to many birds and animals, and that the mother rabbit is likely to be pregnant again already. It is life.
Unless he catches another kitten, Felix will become bored soon and find other pursuits with which to occupy himself, and I am resigned to finding other bodies. This burden was unwanted and painful, but the sense of responsibility and all the “what-ifs” have gone: it has been another lesson in acceptance, and also that good comes from everything that happens when I saw that owls had taken the kittens overnight, to put them, no doubt, to good use for themselves. Their lives were not wasted, and nature, I know, can be harsh.