The Great Black Hunter Strikes Again!
by Susan Zeigler, Des Moines, IA, USA
Onyx, fondly known as "kitty", was also known as "the
great black hunter". The hunting instinct was strong in him. I don't
know if it was because we used to play rough with mouse toys when he was little,
or if it was all instinct. He was good, though, and throughout the years taught
several kittens how to hunt just like a mama cat on a farm would do
One spring day, I received a call at work.
- "Your cat's gone" says Neal on the other end of the phone.
- "Gone?" I replied.
- "Gone. I let him out half an hour ago and he hasn't come back."
- "He'll come back," I replied, laughing, and hung up the phone.
- About 45 minutes later, the phone rings. "He's back," says Neal. "He
- "What did he catch?" I replied.
- "Something he's never caught before" was the answer.
- "Well," I said, "he's caught mice, shrews, rabbits that were
bigger than himself, birds, chipmunks, squirrels I suppose--though I've never
seen him with one . . ."
- "None of those."
- "Ok, I give up. What did he catch?"
- "The biggest damn garter snake I've ever seen."
- That made me start. Since he'd grown up on a farm, Neal had seen a LOT
of garter snakes!! "Did he kill it?" I asked.
- "Not sure."
- "What do you mean?"
- "Well, he keeps grabbing it by the tail, shaking it back and forth and
then letting go. It flies through the air and lands, then he pounces on it and
does it again."
- At this, I'm laughing so hard I have tears running down my face. "Got
- 15 more minutes pass and the phone rings again. "It wasn't as dead as
we thought it was." I hear.
- "What happened?"
- "It turned and bit him. I suppose it got tired of flying."
- "What's he doing now?"
- "Sitting on the porch."
- "No, the snake. Onyx is about 10 feet away glaring. I think he's
trying to decide whether or not to pounce on it again."
I don't really remember what happened after this, but to this day, even
though I didn't see the incident, I have a full mental picture of how he must
have looked! A week later, as I was leaving for work, I saw Onyx's mitten-pawed
partner in crime trotting down the side-walk with a kitten-sized snake of her
own dangling from her mouth--she was only 5 months old but obviously learned
The one thing I neglected to mention is that while he was whipping it back
and forth apparently he was making this growling, snarling noise deep in his
throat. The growl ended on an upswing note as he let go and flung the snake
across the lawn.
One of those things I dearly wish I had an actual picture of--why don't men
think of those things more often
- If you want to comment on this article, why not write direct to
- She will be pleased to hear from you!
- In memory of Onyx, The Great Black Hunter, September 2, 1989 to April 11,