Friday, September 24, 2010

Suspicious minds...

It seems, that I have a suspicious mind, or so my wife tells me. Not suspicious as in who is my wife talking to on the phone, is she having an affair? No, cop suspicious, as in, why is that car creeping by so slowly, or I don't recognize that mailman.

My wife calls it suspicious, I mostly just call it being aware of my surroundings, and what's going on. Though I admit, I do tend to look for the darker explanations first. That just makes for a pleasant surprise when the answer turns out to be innocuous.

For example, after a long day in the field yesterday, I got home before my wife and kids(thank God for small favors). As I stop the car at the top of the driveway, and get out to grab the mail before pulling all the way in, something isn't right.

I always scan my surroundings upon entering or exiting anything, be it car, building, or just a room. I have no idea what I've seen, because it hasn't registered yet, but something is off enough that I stop and do a serious look around me. Still can't peg it, so I start to walk around my car, and there it is.

About twelve feet into my driveway, along the right side is a cat. Black as night, mid-length fur, and dead as a hammer. There's a dried blood pool at the head, one eye is bulged out, and those ugly green flies are buzzing all around it.

My first thought is one of relief, because it's not my cat. Heck, that little thing is practically a kitten compared to my largish cat(22ish pounds). This cat, while appearing full grown, would be lucky to push ten pounds, probably closer to seven than eight on second glance. There are strays in the woods around here, and it's probably one of those.

Enter the suspicious mind. Wait a sec, how did it get into my yard, and how did it get dead? I pull on into the driveway, grab some gloves and a shovel, and go back to investigate. The whole time I'm remembering that a neighbor warned me the other week to keep an eye on the kids, as they'd seen a bobcat in the yard proper, and it was acting weird. Rabies is the first thing that popped into my mind then, and I'm thinking of it now as well.

I'm also trying to think if there's anyone I've sent to prison in the past who would he getting out now that might hold a grudge, or someone more recent, with a family member who might hold a grudge. I can't think of anyone off hand, but I'm not discounting anything at this point.

I reach the deceased, and pause for a better look. There's just a small amount of blood, and it appears to have all come out of the mouth. The only thing I can see wrong with it, at least visually, is the right eye is bulged most of the way out of the socket, and a little cloudy. The left eye is in the socket, and appears normal.

I can't see any signs of any kind of trauma, no obvious broken bones, nothing mangled, no apparent extraneous holes or anything. If it wasn't for the bulged eye, and two inch blood stain on the drive, I wouldn't know it wasn't just asleep. Except for the flies of course.

I go to touch it, and it's in full rigor, stiff as a board. I dunno much about calculating ToD based on things like that, but I figured it had been there for at least a few hours to be like that. I proceed to remove the cat out to the deep woods, and then start hosing off the drive. Luckily I'm almost done when everyone else gets home, and all they see is silly daddy playing with the hose.

Best as I can figure, one of the ferals must have been crossing the road, and gotten barely clipped by a passing vehicle. Not enough for serious physical trauma, just enough so that the trauma that did result was fatal. That, and knocked it, either flying or stumbling, far enough into my driveway to make me question where it came from and how it got there.

I will admit to keeping maybe a closer eye on what was going on outside last night. Paying more attention to cars going by, and noises I can't immediately identify. However, sometimes, the simplest explanation is the correct one.

Doesn't mean I won't keep an eye out for the darkside, but will still be pleasantly surprised when things turn out for the best.

Take care all,


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Beat And Release said...

Depending on the ambient temperature, you could be looking at anywhere from six to twelve hours for full rigor. Maybe less due to the size of the animal.

Casey said...

Well, I can narrow the parameters a bit. I left the house at 0700, and pulled back in the driveway at 1730, so only ten and a half hours in which it could have happened. Ambient temp in the drive at 0700, according to my car thermometer, was 65 degrees F. Peak temp in the drive that afternoon, once again as reckoned by my car thermometer, was 87 degrees F. Sloping drive is on the south face of the mountain, but heavily shaded from Tulip Poplar, Oak, and Hickory trees, so no direct sunlight at the site of the 'incident'.

Man, I need to get back into field work and take a class or something.