Something got into our pond recently. I’m not sure what exactly, possibly a cat. No one saw the attack, but the evidence speaks for itself – one of our fish was this morning floating on its side with gashes down its side. However, somehow it’s still alive, though only just. In fact, it’s been like this for a couple of days now, and despite its “playing dead” it still lives. Which poses something of a problem, because although it looks dead, it isn’t, so I can’t bury it. It sort of looks like it might be in pain, or ought to be given the wounds, but since it still hasn’t died I’m wondering whether it might survive after all. What do I do?
There is certainly an atmosphere of concern amongst the other fish. The usual glee at the approach of anything humanoid at the edge of their domain has been lost, replaced by caution and fear. No longer do they appear open-mouthed whenever I pass, eager to be fed or taken notice of. They hide in the murky depths of the pond, cowering beneath the safety and shelter of the pondweed, only daring to show themselves once the food has been served and has been floating on the surface for a while. They remember, those dim-witted goldfish, they remember something horrifying, disturbing. Their simple dreams, if they have any, are replaced by simple nightmares. The safety of their pond is no longer something they can rely on. One of their number has been brutally attacked, leaving fear and trepidation in the wake of a trajedy.
For now I have separated the wounded from the others, putting the fish in question in a separate bowl of water. That at least should make sure that any infection it might get will not spread to the rest, and may help to calm the others down. It also means I can keep a watchful eye on that fish, observing its fate.
But what to do next? Do I put it out of its misery? I did consider it, but the thought of killing it just didn’t sit well with me, hence the bowl of water. Do I leave it out in the open, and let nature take its course? At the moment the bowl of water is just sat on the patio, unprotected, and I’m sure if I left it overnight some wandering cat would find it and enjoy a midnight feast. Is that any more humane though? Or do I ensure its safety from further predators and hope it recovers? Any advice would be much appreciated…