Maxwell & The Lizard

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

I paused my Gater while traveling on my neighbor’s property upon seeing my cat, Maxwell, perched on a small pile of rocks and staring at me. While I watched, he decided to ignore me and proceeded to examine the rocks around and under his feet. He carefully peered into and sniffed at each shadowy space. The little hunter then left those rocks and crossed my Gater’s path toward another pile he apparently knew well. He again proceeded to peer and sniff. So, I thought, that’s how Max searches for small prey!

I love my cat, and dislike that he’s an expert hunter and destroyer of small creatures. During his ten years as my inside-outside cat, this property has become devoid of some critters, like chipmunks and bunnies. Down by the barn, I don’t like seeing him chase the still numerous lizards. I resist feeding wild birds, except for hanging high feeders for hummingbirds, because Max is an expert bird killer.

His purpose is to control mice in the barn area and once-upon-a-time that’s where he focused, but on maturing turned his attentions elsewhere. He hunts in surrounding fields, and when he hauls catches home, it’s often too late for me to rescue them. Max knows to avoid me. He often leaves critter remains near my house.

Not long ago, while leaving the barn, I nearly stepped on a mature lizard. On its back was a large hematoma and the creature was missing a tail. It tried to scramble out of my way, obviously in pain, disoriented, and unable to move quickly. I captured and brought it to my garage, set it into a covered terrarium, with substrate, water, food, and a heat lamp. For me, that damaged lizard became the last straw, and Max became grounded to remain housebound for the rest of summer.

To summarize, my best efforts couldn’t help the lizard survive.

As a nearly-lifelong city dweller, I’m not from an environment that might have taught me to consider little creatures as relatively unimportant. Years ago, when I lived near Kansas and its populations of meadowlarks, a scientific research effort identified the reduction in fields and near-disappearance of songbirds. That research asserted that cats were responsible for the disappearing field birds.

Keeping Max inside isn’t easy, for he’s constantly underfoot and wants to be outside. I’ll see how continuing confinement goes, but meanwhile, it’s delightful to see lizards of all sizes scampering with energy and in health. Maybe even a chipmunk or two will show up again.

Dear Friends: Call me a “silly softie”, and it’s true, I do admire creatures. Diana

2 thoughts on “Maxwell & The Lizard

  1. I am glad you’re a silly softie. I admire much about cats but will not have one due to the reasons you outlined. 🤔

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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