• Mon, Sep 23 - 12:00 pm ET

I’m The Mean Mom Because I Didn’t Let My Kids Keep The Wild Bunny Our Cat Brought Home

shutterstock_116617438__1379941081_74.134.205.46My cat Godzilla is an asshole. I am also an asshole pet owner for letting him go outside, but   Godzilla is the type of cat impossible to keep inside. He sneaks out whenever the door is opened, and when you have kids, you know how hard it is to insure that your doors aren’t opened a hundred times a day. He stays in our yard, but it still makes me nervous, because he could hurt by a dog or something. I don’t worry so much about cars, because we live on a very quiet cul-de-sac, and he usually only ventures as far as our front sidewalk, where he rolls around in the sunshine and demands that delivery people pet him. He was a used cat when we got him (I am a big fan of previously owned animals), adopted from a shelter about seven years ago, and he doesn’t do much, except sleep and eat constantly and deliver us fabulous prizes he has caught from our backyard on our doorstep.

This weekend was no exception, because on Saturday it was my middle son’s birthday, and right before seven a.m. every child in my house demanded that I come to the window because ‘Zilla had caught a RACCOON or a BEAVER or a small DOG. This was obviously a birthday gift for my kid, and I hadn’t even had my coffee yet. Because these things only happen when I am the only parent around, my husband, of course, was out running.

My children were all upset and I told my teenager to go see what Godzilla had in his mouth. He ran back in with a dishtowel, went back outside, and presented me with a young bunny rabbit. Who was obviously injured and traumatized. I held the small, shivering creature against me, Goodzilla was locked in the basement, and I texted my husband in a panic who was just as clueless as I am in the care of hurt bunnies. My daughter, of course, immediatley named the bunny and started putting milk in one of her doll’s bottles. All in the span of maybe three minutes. I held the bunny, who seemed rather unhappy to be trapped in a towel, calmed my middle kid and told him we would still be celebrating, tried to google about what to do with a hurt bunny on my cell phone, and explained to my daughter that we did not have a cage to put him in. All before I had coffee.

I decided to investigate how hurt this bunny was, and gently placed him on my kitchen island, assuming he was injured enough where he wouldn’t move. WRONG. As he happily hopped off the island and scooted into my laundry room, lodging himself between the wall and my washing machine. You know, the area where stray socks go to die that you clean out every three months because moving the washer is such a hassle. My eldest rescued the bunny and after I carefully checked his injury, I realized he was pretty fine, and that the cat had just removed some tufts of fur off his hind legs.

I told my children we needed to put him back outside, and of course was deemed the MEAN mom because I decided we could not keep this poor rabbit as a pet. The kids finally agreed to put him in the woods behind my house and he hopped away. Godzilla, of course, is grounded from going outside.

I love animals, I would love to have all the animals, and I feel awful my cat chewed on this poor bunny. And I know my kids were disappointed that we did not keep him, but wild bunnies don’t do well when you try and domesticate them. I explained all this to the kids, and the only one who backed me up was my teenager, who was more concerned about whether he had time to hang out with a friend before the festivities. My daughter was totally bummed but I think she came to her senses, because when I was finally making my coffee she asked me if they sold bunny flavored cat food in pet stores.

(Photo: Ermolaev Alexander/shutterstock)

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  • BłuOwl

    That was a good move on your part. Wild bunnies make awful companions. They’re often full of parasites and they’re prone to death by shock. I work summers as a wildlife rehabber and it’s hard to keep bunnies alive even in quiet rooms where it’s dark, let alone a house full of kids. If your daughter is dead set on a bunny, domesticated bunnies are very easy to come by.

    While you aren’t panicked, look up a number to a local wildlife rehab and save it in your phone. If anything happens again, just give them a call.

  • Blooming_Babies

    We also have a used cat that we can’t keep inside, he adopted us by way of the backyard. Unfortunately all he brings us are dead birds… I guess it’s better than a live bunny before my coffee.

  • Rachel Sea

    They totally sell cat food made out of rabbit. Excellent call on letting the bunny be wild, and grounding Godzilla (is it any wonder he is uncontainable with a name like that :) ).

  • Alex Lee

    I provide lodging for a grey lop-eared rabbit. Hay, rabbit food, and wood-stove pellets (cheaper and cleaner than cedar bedding) everywhere. Wife is a veterinarian and also strongly advises against bringing wildlife into the home.

    • LiteBrite

      By the way you worded your comment, I’m going to assume grey lop-eared rabbit is not a favorite? :)

      The reason why I say that is because it sounds a lot like my husband’s response when questioned about the cats.

      Unknowing person: “Well, you have two cats right?”
      Husband: “**I** do not have two cats. There are two cats who I allow to live in my house.”

    • Alex Lee

      I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a grey lop-eared rabbit clean their ears before….it’s pretty damn adorable.

      They sit upright on their hind legs, tilt their head to one side and stroke their ear with their front paws.

      I mean, if you can still hate an animal after seeing that, you have issues. That said, he still managed to chew through a dozen of my audio/video cables. We have an “understanding”.

    • LiteBrite

      I have actually seen that. I used to work with rabbits at our local animal shelter. Damn adorable indeed.

      I also have two guinea pigs so I understand what you mean about hay and cedar bedding everywhere. But it’s so freaking cute when they wheek and chirp and purr. We too have an “understanding.”

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    My cat caught a bunny outside the house once when I was a teenager. Same type of cat, no keeping him in, plus my effing dad would kick him out of the house on purpose all night. Anyhoo, came home one evening and there was a bunny at Jerry’s mouth, and I shooed Jerry away.
    The bunny shook, was in shock or something and I pet it and eventually it zoomed away from me when it came to its senses. Bunnies, man, once they’re caught it’s like they mentally prepare to die and when that doesn’t happen it takes a couple minutes for them to psychologically recover enough to get the hell outta dodge.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      That is EXACTY what happened. He was all OK, no one is eating me, fuck this noise.

  • thisshortenough

    I don’t get this obsession for keeping cats inside these days. It seems to be quite an American thing. Yes there is the chance that there’ll be an accident but cats are very clever, they know to keep out of trouble. Mine has been sleeping outside since he was about half a year old and the only issue we’ve had is dead mice and birds being brought back and a cut in his ear that has developed into a tiny little scar. He’s microchipped and knows where home is.

    • Elandri

      We got our cat a year and half ago and keep her inside. Well when our window upstairs is open she can get on the roof part, that’s her only outside time. Reason being is she was declawed before we got her and I don’t want her to get hurt because she cant defend herself, plus she hates anything to do with other cats. She doesn’t mind the dog at least. XD

    • thisshortenough

      Mine is such an outdoor cat he once followed me and the dog on a walk. Couldn’t keep up and started crying for me to wait for him. Had to carry him the rest of the way.

    • Elandri

      Aww, that is too cute. There is a cat in our neighborhood who love to follow people around. Such a cutie.

    • Copperkroewe

      Domestic cats are responsible for several bird species extinction. Almost 90% of what cats hunt and kill they only kill for fun. I have 3 cats and it’s near impossible to keep them inside all of the time. I had a biology student stop by my house one day to inform me of the above mentioned when he saw my cats outside on the porch. He was going around taking a survey from the neighborhood about the resident cats.

    • Tsitika

      I wish it wasn’t just a North American thing! Domestic cats are one of the most ecologically destructive side-effects of civilization. They kill birds and small mammals at an enormous rate and can take out huge sections of a species’ migration. I love cats as pets, but the vast majority of them can live perfectly happy lives indoors, especially if they’re raised that way. Why would you unleash them on the ecosystem if you don’t have to?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Oh totally, they are evilllllllll. I try to be careful but mine is such a sneak, he will trip you trying to escape

    • thisshortenough

      Well I live in Ireland and quite close to a city so whatever my cat kills would be quickly replaced. That sounds really callous but it’s true, there aren’t many species around that my cat is going to do a serious population damage to.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      I saw your comment and thought you might be, I’m a dubliner and it’s never occurred to me to keep my cat inside. She’s always wanted to go outside and i’ve always let her, if anything it seems cruel to me to keep her cooped up in the house all day.

    • Tsitika

      Not necessarily. Migratory birds move through cities too, and are already faced with crashing into buildings at alarming rates. I live in Toronto, the biggest city in Canada, and I still see vulnerable species get killed by cats. It’s not like cats know if they’re hunting a pigeon or a Prothonotary Warbler.

    • thisshortenough

      I imagine Toronto has far more skyscrapers than Dublin does though since we have none.

    • Tsitika

      It’s not the height of buildings that cause collisions, it’s the number of windows, the quality of the reflection and the amount of vegetation surrounding the building (to make it look like a continuous row of trees).

      None of that, however, impacts the fact that cats kill thousands of birds per year in any urbanized or rural area. House Sparrows are in serious decline across the UK, and their population in Dublin is in a crash right now, so they are not being quickly replaced. Cats can exacerbate population declines because they often target fledglings, preventing them from contributing to the next generation. No matter where you are, cats are a huge problem. They do not suffer from living indoors if they’re raised that way, so why create an ecological problem when there doesn’t need to be one?

    • thisshortenough

      Well it’s too late for mine then. He’s been living outdoors all his life basically. Plus he lives with my granny who is of the mindset that cats go out at night and I agree. He comes and goes as he likes during the day but he’s out at night.

    • thisshortenough

      Also I love how I’m getting hate for saying I let my cat go outside, a very natural thing to do, but then there’s many people on this comment section who get their cats declawed, an extremely unnecessary procedure.

    • Tsitika

      I’m not trying to give you hate or attack you. It’s just that as an ecology student I think it’s important for people to know what kind of impact cats have on the environment. A lot of the time, people only consider the danger to the cats themselves when debating outdoor vs indoor, and I think the danger to the environment should be considered as well.

      For the record, I am completely against declawing cats as well, but that’s a completely different argument. It’s not natural for cats to be in these environments – they are human-introduced invasive species. They are a domesticated species and not a natural part of the ecosystem, so I think we should be careful about where we’re letting them roam.

    • kitz

      If we let our cat outside, a coyote would eat her. They prey on lots of housepets and, regardless of how “American” it might seem, we would rather keep our cat alive.

    • thisshortenough

      Well no if there is something out there actively going to hunt your cat you keep them in obviously.

    • Aldonza

      Yeah, at my parents house where they have coyotes, bobcats, raccoon’s (they are MEAN), bears, cougars, and of course cars, it’s not worth the risk. When I was little, we lost one to a coyote and another to a car. Strictly house cats since then. And of course, I live in a big city now, so letting the cats out would be another sort of death sentence. Not to mention the damage a lot of cats do to natural ecosystems.

    • Diana

      Indeed, its an American thing. In the uk/ireland most shelters wont give you a cat if you’re planning on keeping them indoors.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      It’s the exact opposite here! That’s so interesting

    • EmmaFromÉire

      I literally never knew this. It’s honestly considered cruel here to keep them inside all day.My cat hates being locked up in the house all day, she much prefers being outside.

    • meteor_echo

      That is, until they don’t. You don’t want to have your pet missing, then find his body after he was hit by a car, then spend days sobbing, not eating anything and self-harming. You just don’t.

    • thisshortenough

      Actually I have had cats go missing. My last two. One never came home, the other we found dead in the garden from poisoning. And while I was sad I was hardly going to regress back to self harming over them. My dog yes. But not my cats. I just wasn’t as close with them.

    • meteor_echo

      I had two cats go missing as well. Not a dog person here (I really dislike noisy overly social creatures, dogs and kids included), and my cats are basically my family. So I’d rather keep them inside and have them entertained and well-cared of than have another cat go missing.

    • LiteBrite

      This is one big reason why I keep my cats inside. We live on a busy street – lots of cars barreling by – and it would kill me if one of the girls got hit by a car. My neighbors have a big black and white kitty that they let roam outside. He’s got a collar and tag on, so okay there, but I’m always afraid I’m going to find him on the road.

      (He also likes to visit our deck at least once a week and drive my own cats insane with rage.)

    • meteor_echo

      Awwww. Cat pics plz? :3

    • LiteBrite

      Here you go. This is my big kitty, Lolly. I work from home a couple of days a week, and she likes to sit next to me in the office while I work. Mostly her “helping” consists of her staring at me like I’m an idiot while I’m on conference calls, but at least it keeps me in my place.

    • meteor_echo

      ZOMFG SO FLUFFY. SO FLUFFYYYYYYY <3
      I want to bury my face in her fur (though I bet she'd maul anyone who would try to do that)~

    • LiteBrite

      Her fur is like silk. It’s so soft and fluffy that I just want to snuggle her all day.

      But yes, she’d scratch my eyes out if I tried. She’s actually pretty friendly and affectionate but only on her terms. :)

    • meteor_echo

      Here’s a .gif of my kitty, Shusha (I just installed a video-to-gif convertor and am having a field day with it). Picked him up on the street in March after he was hit by a car and dying. Now he’s the sweetest, most adorable critter ever.
      http://i.imgur.com/nlsYpVr.gif

    • EmmaFromÉire

      i’ve mentally overlain an ‘omnomnomnom’ track

    • meteor_echo

      Yup. Nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom.

    • Guest

      so much fluff, she’s gorgeous!! Can we please turn this into a crazy cat lady thread where we all post pictures of our cats? because i’m so there.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      so much fluff, she’s gorgeous!! Can we please turn this into a crazy cat lady thread where we all post pictures of our cats? because i’m so already there.

    • meteor_echo

      Yissss, crazy cat lady thread go!~
      Your tabby is adorable! How old is (s)he? :3

    • EmmaFromÉire

      she’s 9, and only photogenic when she’s asleep and ccan’t run away ^_^

    • LiteBrite

      Awww….look at the kitties! Emma, my little cat looks similar to yours. Meteor, I love the .gif of Shusha. I found my little cat, Jez, wandering the streets when visiting a friend. She was pregnant when I found her too. She is skittish but generally a sweet little girl.

    • ElleJai

      In my country/state (Australia/Victoria for the record) cats have a legal curfew. You can let them out during the day but never at night or you’re fined, because they’re killing our endangered native wildlife, already endangered by foxes, bunnies, and cane toads (cane toads in a different state) who are all introduced species that just DO NOT WORK with our ecosystem.

      I prefer to mainly only let them out every few days, I see no reason they should terrorise the neighbourhood animals because I’m too lazy to make indoors fun.

    • Emmali Lucia
    • JLH1986

      My neighbors don’t want to deal with my cat in their yard. I know several people who don’t want any animals in our yard. Plus our cat has no claws (not my doing, he was a shelter kitty) so no he can’t go outside. Much like everything else. It’s what works for yours. My neighbors would probably kill my cat (not an exaggeration, when we walk the dogs they’ll yell at me to keep the dogs off their grass) if he was in their yard (and he isn’t their responsibility). So he stays inside.

  • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

    As a kid, I would also have dubbed you the mean mom.

    As an adult, I’m like, “Well, fuck yeah, what the hell else are you supposed to do, care for a wild animal that you’re completely unprepared for?”

  • Lee

    Thank god Shitty Kitty doesn’t bring us gift like that! The only gifts she leave are yakked up ribbons (god only knows where she finds them) right next to the bed where we will step in them. She is also an outdoor cat due to the inability to keep her in at college. Fun story, she used to follow us to parties on our college campus and wait in the bushes until we left. Then she would walk home with us. Every once in a blue moon she would actually come and join the party.

  • http://awimpinwyoming.wordpress.com/ Archer

    When I was a kid we had a cat who brought home a bunny on Easter. This bunny, however, was nowhere near alive and far more red than white by the time we found it. My dad’s response? “Welp. Looks like nobody is getting chocolate this year.”

    Now my fiance and I have a couple of indoor cats, both of which are skilled hunters. Of insects. If I see a spider or a cricket or a moth all I have to do is call for them and they’ll come running, see the invader, and make short work of it. To clarify, I have two cats who answer to their names and will eat spiders and other bugs so I never have to deal with them. I imagine this is exactly what it feels like to be a mob boss.

    • meteor_echo

      I live on the outskirts of a fairly small town, and there are fields nearby, so every summer we get tarantulas and house centipedes in our house. House centipedes are fine, but tarantulas are a NOPENOPENOPE, so I sic my cats on them. Cats are happy to snatch away some running eight-legged proteins, I’m glad to not have spiders the size of a walnut in my room.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Where do you live? Because I never want to live there. Shit like that in my house sounds like my worst nightmare pretty much ever!

    • meteor_echo

      Ukraine, Crimea :)

      It’s a fairly nice place with scenic nature, but every once in a while critters just scoot in and decide they can stay. This year there were only two tarantulas in three months, though – a good year, definitely. We also have daddy longlegs spiders here, but those are fucking hilarious and I’m not afraid of them in the slightest.

      As a bonus, we also get purple carabus beetles. They’re shiny, huge and eat spiders. I love them to bits.
      http://club.foto.ru/gallery/images/preview/2010/12/24/1689756.jpg

    • Alex Lee

      That’s beautiful

    • meteor_echo

      They’re amazing. They never bite people, but, if you handle them too roughly, they will spray you with horrible stinky liquid. Every summer I pick those fellows up under electricity poles (they’re attracted to bright light) and release them at the local cemetery.

      We have those, too. They’re territorial little bastards.
      http://www.spbgu.ru/forums/uploads/post-23-1178872792.jpg

    • EmmaFromÉire

      Is it weird that I wan t a model of that as a necklace/bracelet/ring? It’s stunningly coloured.

    • meteor_echo

      Hmm. Here’s a figurine of a very similar beetle that you can turn into a pendant (my advice would be to coat it in epoxy first, though!). You can add the color if you buy metallic purple nail polish and a small painting brush. It would make a stunning pendant IMO.

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-Kaiyodo-Capsule-Museum-Q-Animatales-Blue-Ground-Beetle-Insect-Bug-Figure-/190893486886?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c72237326

    • EmmaFromÉire

      oooohhh i like it. I’ll be the creepiest budding zoologist in the lab!

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      A gorgeous beetle that eats spiders? They’re my new favourite bug.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      I am seriously impressed. If I see a spider on the wall i just sort of brush my cat off it so she can deal with it. Probably makes me the world’s biggest asshole, but I’m an asshole with a spider free wall!

  • Kelby Johnson

    This has nothing to do with cats, but at an Easter event once year a little girl won a live rabbit as a prize for one of the Easter Eggs she found. Her family was travelling from out of town and there wasn’t any way for them to keep this rabbit so mom made her give the rabbit back to the people. Little girl was heartbroken.

    • Elandri

      Wow, how can events like that consider giving a live animal as a prize? How many parents are going to take their kids to an egg hunt and hope their kid comes back with an animal they, the parents, will end up having to take care of. All it does is set up the parents to be the bad guy and the poor child to be devastated that they didn’t get the prize they won. And what happens to the animal if no one wants it? Just not a good situation at all.

  • Athena A

    When I was a teenager my cat once brought a bunny home as well. Only, it was headless. Yea, headless.

  • EmmaFromÉire

    When I borrowed my cat from Satan, I knew she’d bring stuff home to us, but I always assumed (naively) it would be the whole animal. Oh boy was I wrong. It’s like living with Don fucking Corleone, all we get are the heads of birds or the legs off mice.

  • Chrissy

    My mom’s cat brought a bunny in while I was housesitting once (from a cat that regularly releases live chipmunks into the kitchen, this wasn’t a shock). All I can say is, you don’t truly know horror until you hear a bunny scream…

  • Snarktopus

    Both my cats are too lazy to hunt. Well, Rei-kitty is too lazy to hunt. Galactus is just unsuccessful because he can’t stealth.