we have a tiny backyard off the back of our apartment that is fenced in and butts up against the back wall of the carport. since it is so well enclosed, we have our cat box outside and a pet door in the slider so our 2 kitties can go in and out of the backyard at will. today, i heard our giant (25 pounds) grey cat, saturn, (who is really just a big scaredy cat) howling at the top of his lungs.
i went out to see what was up and found this:
i'm not normally afraid of bugs, or much for that matter, but this guy creeped me out a little. probably because i had never seen one before. and that horn is pretty daunting on its own. i didn't know what to do with it and i sure as hell wasn't about to kill it. 1. i almost never kill things. i say "almost never" because i will go buck-nutty wild killing ants if i see them (they give me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about them) and i will kill the occasional spider, if i can't transplant him outside. 2. i was imagining the mess/sound/emotional scar it would leave. it was huge as far as worms go. a good 4 inches long and thick. squishing it was definitely not an option. 3. he reminded me too much of heimlich from "a bug's life." so, i scooped him up in some tupperware and relocated him to the planter out in front of the apartment.
the weird thing was, when i found the hornworm, he wasn't near the tomato plant. that, and there was a spot in the planter box that had been disturbed. we have fenced off half of our yard for a garden so our cats can't get in and like i said, it's pretty secure back there and we're in the middle of a row of apartments and there are backyards on either side of ours, so i'm almost positive another cat would not have been able to get in.
what i think may have happened was a crow landed, grabbed the worm and then dropped him as he was taking off, maybe because he saw saturn. that's just my theory, i have no idea what the hell happened out there today, but that makes me feel the most comfortable about the situation. anyway, i'm glad we have saturn, he's quite the watch-cat.