Wednesday, 13 April 2016

A Cat and a Bird

You've met Sweetie the cat already. We also have two older cats, a female with a gimpy leg and an insatiable appetite, and a timid male who's easy-going, smart, and fond of beating up miniature fake mice and my purse. The few times we've had a real mouse in the house, he was faintly interested, but nothing like the two females we have. They knew what the mouse was and they knew what their kitty skills were for. But our boy cat really came through the other day, for us and - in a good way - for a bird.

In our family room is an airtight wood stove with a window in the front, used only if the power goes out in winter. On this particular day BoyCat suddenly started paying close attention to the front of the stove, patting it gently all over and craning his neck to see something inside. We've had birds enter via the chimney in the past, so I knew the drill: remove all cats from the room, close door, open exterior door, open screen door, open stove door, and retreat. As I opened the stove door, I had a vague impression of a dark, medium size bird, probably a starling, and a pointy orange beak about two inches long. And a beady eye looking right at me. I didn't hang around watching, just left the room and hoped the bird would understand what to do. He did. When I returned a few seconds later, he was gone without a trace.

I was so glad BoyCat alerted me to the trapped bird. A number of years ago, we found a dead bird in our cottage stove in the spring. The poor thing had entered through the chimney there as well, but was not lucky enough to have a cat, or people, living there at the time, as it was the off-season. I wept for that bird. It was so light and frail. I hope it had a quick death in the cold of winter. This recent event has made me remember that we need to look into covering both chimney openings with some kind of mesh.

Anyway ... here's the modest hero of the day, trying to avoid looking at the camera:

BoyCat. Yes, I named HIM too. Also known as Buddy.

This is his favourite perch when I am on the computer. If I try to ignore him, he just sits for awhile, then politely reaches over and taps my shoulder. If a series of taps doesn't change the situation for the better, he gives up on the subtle approach and jumps between me and the keyboard, walking back and forth with his floofy tail in my face until I offer him my lap. Only then is he happy.

BoyCat isn't fat, he's fluffy. Yes, we have two pudgy cats (you've met Sweetie already and will meet the other one tomorrow) and I admit right up front that they're pudgy, but this guy is ALL FLUFF. It's hard to keep indoor cats trim and svelte, unless they aren't all that interested in eating - and BoyCat really doesn't care much about food.



11 comments:

  1. My boy cat is fluffy, too. When he came home as a bitty kitty, my sister signed and said "Another long hair!" He looks as big as BoyCat, and weighs eight pounds. Probably four pounds of hair.

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    1. Amazing, isn't it? I wouldn't want to be a cat, washing all that :)

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  2. Good on you for letting the starling out. When I was a kid, we had a big, black, tomcat who would hunt starlings (they would sit in their thousands in a tree across the backyard fence) and take them to the strays that lived up the alley from us. We never did figure out how he caught them, but I saw him taking them up the alley on many occasions.

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. Now that's really interesting, that your cat would take food to other cats. I've always thought cats were quite protective of their food. Fascinating.

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    2. I thought it strange at the time also. My sister's theory was that he had a bunch of kittens with the strays, who had to scavenge to feed themselves, and most likely had a hard time feeding their kittens.

      -Doug in Oakland

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  3. It is good you understand the language. There is quite a bit they can tell us when we know how to listen.

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    1. And their senses are so much finer than humans' senses are. At the risk of becoming "that person who writes about her cats all the time" I have another story about the mice that visited us over the years. I'd never have known if it wasn't for the cats. Well, I suppose eventually it would have become clear, but the cats knew as soon as they arrived.

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  4. Jazz is food orientated. And definitely pudgy. Jewel? Not so but far otherwise. Both of them would alert us to a bird in the house though. Very, very quickly. And to spiders. And flies. And mice. And dangerous bits of fluff. They seem to be equal opportunity killers though we have had more specialised cats.

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    1. It's the fluff that's really important, right? :)

      You're right, it's not just larger prey. Our cats point out every insect and black dot too.

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  5. I know all about hair, having raised Old English Sheepdogs all my life. They, too, are 3/4 hair weight!

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    1. How does the vacuum cleaner fare when cleaning up that hair? I think it might be a challenge ...

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