in which i wait
for the frog to die

{august break no. 18}

the one that was brought to me as a gift, an offering from a puffed-up proud kitten, never mind that i never asked for such a thing, never mind that it makes me cringe, never mind that it breaks my heart.

i read once that cats don’t bring you their kill as gifts, they bring them because they think you are also a cat, the head cat, the big cheese, and so, they are trying to impress you.

i get that, and part of me thinks it is kind of cool, them thinking of me as a cat, but i just wish they would bring these gifts to me too-late-already-dead instead of i-wonder-if-i-wrestle-the-poor-thing-free-if-it-could-survive?

and then i wrestle with myself.

if i were a stronger person, a bigger person, a more courageous person, i would kill this frog the size of my hand and put it out of its misery, wouldn’t i?

wouldn’t that be better than dying like this, upside-down on a cold hard sidewalk, injured and gasping for air?

or maybe that is too much like playing god. maybe it’s not any of my business. maybe that frog can’t feel anything and i am projecting my own thoughts and fears and emotions onto a creature that was never meant to have them. and is it wrong that the waiting bothers me more than the death?

maybe this is all a metaphor for something else… life, love, mortality.

maybe it doesn’t mean anything at all.

and so, i wait.

and later, much later, when i am certain the poor frog is dead, i go out and give it a proper burial. by which i mean that i pick it up with a shovel and toss it into the field out back. but i do say a few words of apology before i send it flying.

and then later, not very much later after that, there is another gift. a small bird i cannot bear to look at long enough to see if it is still alive.

i turn away and go back inside.

i have never been very good at waiting.

14 Responses to “in which i wait
for the frog to die”

  • Stereo Says:

    Ouch and ouch again, K. I can’t imagine that could have been easy and the poor bird – 🙁 I completely understand why this is breaking your heart. A long while ago, win an old house that was overrun by mice, my parents called the exterminators who planted poison throughout the house. They warned us that the mice might come out to die but I was never prepared when they did. Each one sitting in the middle of the kitchen, living room or porch, shivering, unable to move. And we had to scoop each one up and toss it over the fence into the field behind our house. I was about 13 and I sniffled and wiped my eyes for every single mouse. I get it.

  • M.A. Brotherton Says:

    I feel a little guilty. I’m a dog person, and only have a dog now, but when there were cats in my house, I would reward them for being a brave and noble hunter. I live near a large open field, and having mice is just part of that. I always figured it would be good for a cat to know that I tolerated it’s presence based on my respect for it’s ability to keep them at bay.

    I’ve never really been squeamish about small dead things, but I’ve never really thought about how they feel either.

    Now, I think I might understand why my exwife had such a hard time cleaning up after the kitty.

  • debi Says:

    would that i had the answer. often, often, i wonder if i am playing god – lizards are easier to save than frogs, smaller, usually in shock, but i wonder if i am doing them a favor seeing as how they are usually missing a leg or two. or if not, isn’t this evolution at work?, i say to myself, these lizards, that bird, aren’t they the weak, isn’t it about survival of the fittest?

    in my head, i know i’m right. in my heart, while they’re laying at the front door or under a chair in the living room, not so much.

  • Jillsy Girl Says:

    i can totally empathize with you on this. bugs, no problem, but anything bigger than a roach, can’t do.

  • beth Says:

    i would have a hard time with the dead creatures, too….but i love the proper burial. exactly how i would have done it……xo

  • missing moments Says:

    I am such a sap for small creatures. I know it’s the way of nature but damn, I hate anything being someone’s dinner! We once found a little mouse who had fallen in an empty oil can in the garage. Still alive but covered in oil, struggling. Who knows how long he had been there. Hubby took him out, cleaned up the lethargic thing with soap and water and then laid him in our garden hoping he would survive. He probably was someone’s meal that night but we tried. Just a stupid mouse. And now? We have traps (the ugly kind) in our basement to catch the little rascals. Bad us!

  • Kathryn Dyche Dechairo Says:

    Oh sweetheart, I really feel for you.

    When we had outdoor cats in the UK they were always bringing animals inside (some dead, some alive). One day I came home from work and our house looked like a crime scene, there was blood all over the walls and feathers everywhere. When my husband went to collect what we thought was a dead bird he was mortified when it bit him and he realized that it was still alive, I couldn’t look. I could never get used to it and am so happy that we now have indoor cats. At least I can deal with dead spiders and bugs a little more easily than birds, worms, mice and voles.

  • Daryl Says:

    you are what we in our house call The Big Cat(in our case that would be ToonMan). Its a dubious honor. We are left dead bugs .. thankfully no mice or frogs or birds because our two are house cats. Rose who is small and delicate eats her kill, digusting I know but apparently not as disgusting as Jack leaving his kill for us to find .. I find it interesting he doesnt eat his kill .. I cant believe I am saying this but I wish he would as gross as it is, its a lot more gross to find his kill or be barefoot and step on it … eewwwwww

  • Nana Says:

    I know it happens, I guess it’s just nature BUT and I mean BUT I don’t want to see it or hear it . I have a neighbors cat who is killing my “squirrels” and breaking my heart in the process. I guess it’s hard to witness “death “no matter what it is or was . I miss not seeing my little guys chasing after each other, stopping by for a piece of corn or nuts . I love cats I really do but I would love to nail this guy with some water from my hose, but he is fast, real fast……….stupid old cat 🙂

  • Kate Says:

    It’s hard to kill something to put it out of its misery. Yet I can’t seem to do it. It’s my husband that does. When George killed a squirrel last month, I waited like you did with the frog. I waited for it to die and was shocked that our dog killed something. My cat brings me dead birds. It’s always lovely.

  • Amibeth Says:

    Oh, this is tragic. I forgot cats did this, and it makes me a little glad that I can’t have pets right now. I wonder the same thing, though, about projecting my own feelings/fears/thoughts onto animals when I really don’t know much about how they think/fear/feel. Lovely photograph today, btw. 🙂 As always.

  • Frida Says:

    My friends cat brought home so many birds, mice and all you can imagine, that they had hard to keep up with him. That led to them finding things they didn’t wanna have in the house 😉

  • Marcie Says:

    I’d be just like you…unable to do what needs doing..even knowing that it might put that poor creature out of its misery. There must be something to this – some sort of life-lesson..or something other. I’m with you on the waiting…

  • Mama Zen Says:

    Lucky for me, my cat always had the courtesy to present them to me thoroughly dead!

I cherish your comments...