Look What the Cat Drug in!

I once heard a story told by my brother in law about a time that a fish fell out of the sky. Literally… fell out of the sky. We chuckled as he shared about how they thanked the Lord for the “manna” and cooked it up for dinner. God is the master provider and while it can be surmised that a bird lost its grip on the fish overhead they still give thanks to the Lord for His provision for dinner that night!

Late Monday night, we were unloading the groceries into the house when we noticed an odd shaped clump of dirt in the middle of the living room floor. We have animals… lots of animals… and I was hesitant to inspect the little pile for fear of what it just might consist of. Holding my breath (in case it was odorous) I cautiously inspected it. I even had to get a bit closer.

Woah! No way! It took a minute to fully register but lo and behold, that was not a clump of dirt but of an owl pellet! I had to withhold my laughter as I exclaimed “look what the cat drug in!”

After a thorough explanation of the humor in being able to give a literal meaning to the expression, I shared the pellet with the children.

The Boy, whom is currently obsessed with owls, was delighted at the realization that an owl pellet being found somewhere nearby indicates that there are owls in our midst.

I carefully wrapped the owl pellet in some tissue and put it away for an opportune time. The time came today when our dear friends came over for an astronomy-turned biology-lesson. Remembering the pellet we gathered all of the children around the kitchen island for a closer inspection. There was a few “ewws” but mostly the kids were simply fascinated!

I was fortunate to have some activity sheets saved for such an occasion that my mother in law used when she taught elementary school. One of these worksheets is a bone identification sheet. Set up with the sheet handy, we proceeded to dissect the pellet.

It’s always a pleasure to watch the personalities unfold before you when faced with unique things… such as non-digested owl vomit.

Bookworm Beauty was a little hesitant and quite expressionate as she pretended to hold back her own vomit, while Sweetness dug right in and dismantled the pellet, peeling back the dirt and fur to unveil the tiny little bones.

We sorted the bones the best we could and came to the conclusion that this pellet housed the remains of a bird.

Life on the prairie provides us with ample opportunity to learn about the world about us. We have been blessed with the ability to study many things and biology has become one of our favorite subjects simple for the opportunity to dissect and closely study nature.

While your cat may never drag in an owl pellet for you to dissect with your children, you can still enjoy a similar experience. There is a company out of Washington where owl pellets can be ordered, along with several educational resources and even a classroom owl pellet kit. I have a feeling we will be ordering pellets and enjoying this activity once again in the near future. Let me know if you anticipate the same… I’d love to hear what you discover in your pellet!

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