Thursday, August 23, 2007

Twitchers

My pair are neither entirely house cats nor are they outdoor cats. Like an over-solicitous mother, I do not allow them to wander, but I do allow them to play in the garden.

My current home has a wonderful garden for cats. As well as clumps of long grass that I have missed with the mower, there are bushes to hide beneath, fences to climb upon and trees to bird watch. They are very good twitchers but that’s as far as it goes. Birds fascinate them but they simply cannot work out how to catch them.

It’s probably my fault; they do come from a long line of streetwise farm cats so it’s not their breeding that’s to blame. When they were kittens, we lived in a house with a garden that didn’t have the same bird watching and stalking opportunities. Moreover, there was a busy road near a school which is why they have never been allowed to wander the streets alone. After that, we lived in a flat devoid of a garden for a few months. Then, their sport consisted of watching a family of swallows that slept on the telephone wire and becoming over excited about two young pigeons that set up camp for a while on the windowsill.

Sometimes, I feel guilty about their lack of bird catching skills. They know how to stalk, how to hide in the undergrowth and how to shimmy between the blackcurrant bushes next door. I think they’d be able to manage a mouse if they found one, but creatures with wings elude them. It must be very frustrating being a cat.

18 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Let's hope they don't sneak round the corner ready to pounce on a poor little birdie... only to discover a male ostrich on the loose! Could be some surprise. "Come on pussy, make my day!"

Gill said...

Our last cat was not interested in birds but was an excellent mouser. I was told that the bigger the whiskers a cat has, the better mouser s/he is, no idea if there is any truth in this.

Mopsa said...

How do you stop them from wandering? Mine would shimmy over or under any fence to see if the grass is greener.With a pair of visiting dogs in the house the two cats have made themselves fairly scarce and have wandered for several days, feeding on mice and birds and only coming in for pilchards in the early hours when I might be awake and amenable, and the strange dogs still shut away.

Rob Clack said...

I thought cats would always try to catch and play with small things that move, but would only actually realise it was food if introduced as such by their mother.

That Cat is rather half-hearted about eating the mice she catches, so we tend to end up with half-mice on the rug, usually waiting for a bare foot in the middle of the night!

I suppose we should be grateful that at least most of the time she does kill them. It would be hard to forgive her for liberating large numbers of intact meeces in the house.

Jane said...

At least your cats don't bring in rare birdlife - one of our kittens brought in a bullfinch, which made me hyperventilate a tad. The mother cat is an excellent mouser, and has been doing sterling duty in next door's orchard, where she has discovered A Hole. The dog would like to be an excellent mouser, and is prone to excavating any hole she finds but she hasn't caught anything yet. Maybe made the rodent depart in sheer fear, but caught it, no.

Karen said...

Vince and I don't have a garden but if we do get a cat it might get some birds that swoop down to eat crumbs from our small yard.

Last night in Tesco we bought a cat food bowl and some cat litter tray scent stuff to encourage us to get a cat.

lady macleod said...

on the other hand the running, leaping, stalking is great fun eh?

@themill said...

The Terrorists are reading this post wondering where you live.

Natural Blonde said...

How do you stop them from wondering too far?

I had a lovely (if a bit snooty) little male cat who got run over when he was 2 years old. Actually, he got run over when he was one year old as well but that one didn't kill him.

Manu (for that was his name) used you leave little presents of mouse kidney on my hall floor.

And ocasionally a frog....

Iota said...

How on earth do you allow them out in the garden but stop them wandering further afield? I am not the only person to ask, but if enough of us show an interest, you will feel obliged to answer, I hope.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Stopping them going too far isn't a science: I keep checking on them to see where they are. They go over the fence behind our garden, they wander into next door's garden on either side and further along the row.

But, they come back when I shout them . He is very good, like a little dog and comes running. She suffers from selective deafness but does obey eventually!

Gill said...

aw Karen. does that mean I am going to be a kitty grandma?

Omega Mum said...

What I particularly like in the pix is their expressions - as though they'd hoped this time round things would shape up better than anticipated but, no, they're just condemned to slight disappointment all over again.

Around My Kitchen Table said...

I love birds but never had a bird table until our moggy got so old that the only way he was going to catch one was if he opened his mouth and a bird flew straight into it. As I sit here writing this with the door open, I can see a blackbird, two collared doves and a few bluetits all gathered around my bird table.

lady thinker said...

As I'm currently living in a cat free house - I'm like some kind of internet pervert - avidly reading and looking for pictures of them. I'd almost forgotten that the down side of young cats is the live stock they bring home which they deposit at your feet, watch it run under the bed or TV - then leave you to catch it while they go out for another.
I'm like a recovering alcoholic trying to stay away from the bar.

ziggi said...

would you like another cat? I have just stepped in a pile of cat sick on the stairs with bare feet - lovely, especially as it squidges between your toes.

Karen said...

"As I'm currently living in a cat free house - I'm like some kind of internet pervert - avidly reading and looking for pictures of them" I too am the same! I approach all the neighbourhood cats and try get a stroke as often as possible.

however if we do get a cat soon all this will stop! So yes mum you will be a kitty granny

tim relf said...

Mine are farm cats, but they're not very streetwise. Never mind chasing birds, their favourite hobby seems to be getting ill - the vet is going to have a good holiday next year thanks to Nutmeg and Parsley! That said, they're adorable and I've bored everyone around me talking about them, and have probably driven people away from my blog because I keep rattling on about them on that and, despite promising myself I wouldn't go on about them so much, here I am doing it again...