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Never Underestimate a Handicapped Hunter 

This is not about travel. Not unless you consider a handicapped hunter hunting prey at night in the midst of a nor’easter in Northeast Florida shortly after Hurricane Irma has had her way with our countryside as travel. Those who know me know I am opposed to hunting. However in this case, I feel the need to pass on this story.

I’m on rural acreage in Clay County and our land is pretty soaked already. Yesterday, a nor’easter began. Rain was falling all day and night. We’re expecting a lot of rain and can expect some more flooding. Not encouraging as I just finished dumping my ruined freezer food that thawed during the four day power outage while I was on my MATPRA press trip and conference.

None of this stopped my fearless hunter. Let me explain a bit about him. His name is Eric and he is going on eight years old. I have had him since he was dumped as a month old kitten with his mom and four siblings. He and his mom are the last of the family with me. Eric recently had to have all his teeth pulled as a result of a genetic problem causing mouth and throat infections.

Eric is the kitten in the middle

I was concerned about his being able to eat after the surgery. I should not have been. Even while he was on soft canned food, within days after the extractions he was nibbling at the dry food dish and holding his own there with my other well-toothed felines.

Eric as an adult

Last night he proved his ability to hang with the big boys. Eric had spent his usual time demanding treats and petting before bedtime and then went for his usual nighttime adventures. It was about 3am when I heard as incessant “meow meow.” I reached over to pet the noisy one thinking it was Dixie, my most talkative cat. Instead, I felt a very wet Eric. When he continued the chatter after I petted him, I reached over again and this time discovered a tiny wet fury body between Eric and me. I turned on a dim night light to see a medium sized rodent. I was not sure if it was still alive so I snatched it up and dumped it out on my front steps. After a few minutes observation, I saw that it was some sort of rat and it had indeed gone to that great cheese wheel in the sky. Eww! I had touched it!

I have no idea how Eric managed to bring that creature, the size of a medium sized squirrel, into the bedroom with no teeth to hold it. I guess it there's a will, there's a way. After a thorough hand washing, I returned to bed as Eric searched around looking for his lost trophy. I suppose if there is a moral here, it’s being handicapped doesn’t stop a determined creature from doing whatever they desire.