Sunday, July 12, 2009

Offerings to the Lord and Master

Disclaimer: no animals were killed (yet) in the making of this blog. "Crossing Over The Rainbow Bridge" believers and PETA types read no further.

It is a behavioral characteristic of domestic cats to catch things and bring them to their owner's home and leave them on the door step. Unless that is if you have a cat door. Then, they sometimes, unfortunately bring it all the way to your feet.

Visa is the name of my small calico female cat. I adopted her because she showed up in my yard and hung around me as I worked outside like she was a puppy or something. She liked bugs, which was OK with me. But the day she showed up with a large bumble bee in her mouth I thought maybe I should feed her some real cat food. That of course sealed my fate. I became her servant and Lord at the same time (read that as Mother and Kitten). Cats are like that. She is named Visa because she is "Everywhere You Want To Be." She is about 7 years old now and is still the most active hunter of all of my cats.

One trick she has is to lay in wait on top of a six foot fence that separates our back yard from our back-back yard which is my domain. She waits there, just where the opening between the two yards is and when a bird flies low through the opening she comes down on it from above. 99% of the time she misses. Even when she succeeds she usually lands so hard that the bird escapes her. But on the occasion of all of the physics working right, she does succeed.

If I am in the yard then she brings it to me. I distract her and the bird goes free. But when she catches one, and then brings it into the house things get dicier. So today she does just that.

I see her trotting towards me in my chair with a sparrow in her mouth. Now the bird is not dead. It isn't even crippled. Scared to death, yes, but alive and flyable. In these circumstances my normal distracting Visa so the bird can escape is not a viable option. Especially when my wife sitting next to me is screaming something about, "Don't you dare let her let that bird go inside my house!" I really hate it when she says stuff like that.

So sure enough Visa brings the bird over to my feet and lays it down. I of course reach for the camera on the table next to my chair. "What are you doing?" says my wife, " You get that bird away from her!"
Now that of course is impossible for several reasons. Cats don't really want you taking their offerings to you away from them. You see, when a cat is outside catching the prey they are functioning as adults and when they bring the catch to you, it is as though you were their kitten. Now once they enter the house they undergo the transition to their being the kitten and you become the mother cat.
Ever notice how a cat hesitates just before they go out or in a door to the home? That's their transition time from one mode to the other, or so I'm told.
So if I reach for the bird, it may fly away triggering the cats attack mode, or the cat may intervene and try to stop momma from getting her toy/food. A dilemma ensues so of course I take a picture instead.

After a while Visa gets tired of the stand off and bats the bird to see it it is alive.

Of course then the bird flies off and Visa follows. The word is is melee! Here I should say that the other two cats were not around during this episode. If they had been, they too would have been in pursuit. It is the prey-flight/carnivore-attack syndrome you know. Wife screams at the cat and me and in general.

Visa after disturbing numerous shelves of valuable family heirlooms catches it behind one of my wife's collectible Green Mountain Teddies.

Then of course she brings it over to me again and Wife says. Take it away from her. I tried, but of course she grabs it away first and sits there with it in her mouth.

So I go back to the camera and take another picture, at which my wife gets up and leaves in disgust.
Now the bird is not dead. It got away again. It is now residing on the top most shelf in my wife's office. As soon as everyone calms down I will go open the door and let it fly outside. Meanwhile Visa is laying on my wife's computer looking up at the bird which she can not reach and my wife is saying, "You're not really blogging about this are you?"


Carol said...

I hope the bird is gone now! I love that last photo of Visa.

drlobojo said...

The bird belately made it outside this morning. It seemed fully functional and no doubt will have great stories to tell its grandfledglings.

drlobojo said...

I regret to inform my readers that Visa brought in another bird and the Alpha Cat named Veto took it away from her and ate it. Bummer.

Feodor said...

Man, Visa sure is a good birder.

drlobojo said...

I finally figured out why she was doing so well with the birds. I had let the bird baths get dry and a coon tipped one over. So the birds were coming to the cats water pan. I filled up the bird baths threw in some anti-mosquito donuts and now expect the bird mortality in my yard to go down some.