One Night Before Christmas

…it was a dark moonless night. But his Mama’s sharp, yellow cat-eyes had guided her through the tangled growth quickly as she took off to hunt down some food for her family.

Little Cougar had watched her go and felt a stirring. He was growing fast. Maybe even his spots would soon begin to fade. One of these nights he would go hunting with his Mama! He looked over at his two sisters sleeping together in a furry little bundle. He wasn’t a sissy little-girl puma. He didn’t feel at all like sleeping. The night was too exciting. His Mama hadn’t been gone long. She couldn’t be very far away.

In the darkness he would be safe as he scampered after her. And when she saw him coming to join her—well, she might be a little cross at first. But then she would lick him with her big scratchy tongue and be glad he was there to help her find food to take back to his sisters when they came awake.

cliffWithout another backward glance, he padded off in the direction where he had watched his Mama go. Little Cougar didn’t know how long he had been padding along on his short legs, picking his way through the thick shrub. At first, there had been the comforting scent of his Mama to follow. But soon that was lost in a confusing mixture of other smells. Enemy smells! And sounds that made his skin bristle.

He could hear his Mama’s repeated warnings: Stay by me—a little cub like you is not safe by himself. Keep close and when I am gone, stay hidden. How could he have forgotten his Mama’s words? Now, here he was—alone, with sounds and smells of enemies all around him. Where was his Mama now? Soon it would be morning light. She would be back with his two sisters, bringing them food. His stomach rumbled.

He knew better than to make a sound, but he couldn’t help himself. Curling up into an exhausted little ball in the brush, he mewed softly for his Mama. Little Cougar didn’t know how long he had been asleep when suddenly he felt himself being lifted into the mouth of…no, not an enemy—it was his Mama! Taking him by the scruff of the neck and moving him firmly back where he belonged. And letting him know that he had been one very foolish little cub!

But not to worry. It would be time, soon enough, to go hunting with his Mama. Meanwhile, his sisters were going to make all gone with that rabbit! Little Cougar, his Mama and sisters didn’t know it, of course, but it was Christmas morning—time for a family to be together.

As we herald the approach of the holidays with this Christmas story of the lost Little Cougar, we are happy to report that our four cougars- Phoenix, Envy, Pirate and Cliff, are doing fine, along with all the critters of our special wildlife community.

Thanks always for your continuing support. You are their year-round Santa Claus.

Happy Holidays from all of us at the Nature of Wildworks.

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