Spring brings a ton of activity to our back yard. We have squirrels, bunnies, and birds of all type and stripe. My cats are driven to near insanity trying to decide if stalking a bunny has the same merits as stalking a bird. The strange thing is, every time my cats go outside to stalk something, they come running in fear back to the house. At first, I thought that my cats were a bunch of sissies. I can justify that because one of my cats is afraid of her own shadow. She vanishes in a puff of fur at the least provocation. But that is where my theory breaks down. My other cat is not such a coward. Misty is a huge cat that might be related to the Russian Blue variety.
Misty is many things… large, voracious, heavy…her movements normally are measured in geological time. She never shows any expression other than “I need a nap”. I HAVE seen Misty chase things before, though. The transformation is miraculous. Here is this feline, roughly the size of a glacier, moving at speeds that most cheetah would envy. Nothing on earth moves so fast as Misty going to the food bowl. My point is, when sufficiently motivated, Misty can really move. My back yard is full of motivation.
The other cat, Callie, will stick her nose outside, see a leaf move and die of shock immediately. Misty will languorously step over the prone body of Callie and see what the noise is all about. Birds will be all over the back yard (Mostly purple martins, Cardinals, Sparrow, and Oriole) . Misty is not afraid of animals. When Misty looks through the glass back door, and sees an animal, she will begin to move in strides that are actually perceptible, and wander outside. But THIS TIME, when she went outside, she came running back in with the same look of terror on her face as my other, naturally frightened cat will have.
I found this to be too strange. Being a researcher, and the normal adventurer that I am, I vowed to get to the bottom of things and see what could make a normally laconic cat, the size of a dirigible, use enough energy to actually express fright.
Plying all my skills as an investigator, I disguised myself as a small shrub and hid myself in plain sight of the beasties that roam the back yard. This is where I made several startling discoveries.
“Duh..Boss, dere’s dat pesky, but rotund, cat again.”
To which the other Martin responded, “I got eyes aint I?”, “Ray Charles can see there is a monstrously huge cat trying to sneak up on us.”
Said the first bird, “Duh…whadda ya tink we should do, Boss?”
To which the other bird replied, “I’ll go see the Don about it. We have enough trouble wid da squirrels invadin our turf. It’s gettin to where da bunnies don’t want to pay dere ‘protection’ fees.” “We gotta show we ain’t so easily intimidated by some big lummox of a cat.”
So , that bird went to another bird. He kissed the feathers of that birds right wing and addressed him:
“Don Birdlioni, I am your humble servant coming as to inquire of what youse tink we should do to show we ain’t lettin no feline take over our territory.”
To which Don Birdlionni responded, “Guido Birducci, you are indeed a faithful servant and a good Boss to my men. I too have observed the feline, roughly the size of a 3 story house, attempting to impinge on our territory.” “This concerns me greatly. ”
The Don looked at the Red Headed Wood Pecker that hung out in the corner of the lot. This red bird was obviously the Consigliari, the adopted, but greatly trusted son of the Don. The Consigliari gave a subtle nod to the Don.
The Don said to Guido Birducci, “Here is what I want you to do.” “I recently did a favor for one of the bunnies. That Bunny understood that one day I might ask of him a favor in return.” “I want you, Guido, to go to that Bunny and remind him of my gracious gesture.” “Remind him that I need him to reciprocate on my generosity.” “Tell him to do this small gesture for me, and I will be happy”.
Guido Birducci flew over to the rabbit warren immediately.
A FEW MINUTES LATER:
Misty was controlling her breathing and her pace. As large as she was, she was remarkably silent. Imagine all her luck. Out of nowhere pops a baby bunny. What a prize. What a catch. She can capture it and bring it back to her clan and share it with her people, like any huntress would.
Mere inches separated her from her prize. This was the moment that would mean a tasty snack to round off her skimpy 3 bags of cat food a day.
Out of nowhere, several angry and slathering bunnies jumped out of the shrubbery and kicked the daylights out of the Misty. The squirrels, realizing they might be able to curry some favor with the Don, joined in the attack and chased Misty back indoors.
Now, all my cats will do is stare longingly outside through a closed door. And one lone Woodpecker will stare at the cats with a small, but menacing smile.