Wednesday 7 September 2016

The Pleasures of Cats

It is now almost a month since the cats were first granted the freedom of the garden.  Barry and I have been savouring the pleasure of seeing our cats enjoying the Great Outdoors.

‘Like tigers in the savannah,’ we say happily to each other as we watch them prowling through the undergrowth or leaping gracefully to a vantage point to gaze down upon the fish busily spawning in the pond.

Birds have been noticeably absent, if that is not an oxymoron, and though I know they are quieter in August because they are moulting, it is now September. Crows and magpies, collared doves and wood pigeons and an occasional spotted woodpecker have all been spotted and the tawny owls continue to call at night, but the noisy squadrons of starlings are staying away in droves. Have our handsome cats been noticed by our feathered hitherto friends?

If that is the case then they are wiser than a young squirrel today which managed to negotiate the cat fence to climb in but was not fortunate enough to find a way out. Herschel was sitting on the grandfather clock in the sitting room, quietly surveying the garden, when something caught his eye and he leapt off and raced down the path. By the time I had reached the patio door he was back, carrying a live squirrel. I managed to shut the door before he brought his prize into the house and then turned the hose on him to ‘encourage’ him to release it. He didn’t. Two minutes later he was back at the patio door and, dropping his bedraggled and now sadly dead trophy on the step, he retreated to the wooden bridge over the pond to lick himself dry.

Naturally, the dogs and all the other cats wanted to inspect the ‘gift’ so thoughtfully presented by their friend and relation. We like our animals to eat raw meat but prefer it to be safe and as I didn’t fancy popping the body into the animal food freezer for a week to kill all bacteria the little corpse has been safely disposed of. (I didn’t fancy skinning and gutting it, either.)

It would be foolish to imagine that the cats will suppress their hunting instincts to avoid alarming their squeamish servants but they are only allowed in the garden when we are here to supervise them so that, hopefully, we will be able to reduce the number of captures, live or otherwise, that are brought in for our delectation. However, I did discover a half-eaten dragonfly in the conservatory.

In case you’re wondering, Herschel, or Herschel the Hunter as he will henceforth be known, and I are still on speaking terms and as I write he is sleeping on the sofa next to Bertie, his favourite dog. Doubtless he is dreaming of squirrel pie. 


  1. The hunter in the cat will always make himself known. This is why my Angel has a bell on his collar close to his name tag so the two jingle together and warn off the birds he is heading towards. He's never caught one yet, in two years of roaming the gardens.

  2. True! Bells would be good but five sets of bells might be a little much. I wonder if Angel ever thinks why he jingles as he walks? Just found another dragonfly, in the kitchen this time :-(

  3. Hi Janice - delightful ... I'm so glad they're allowed out - must be magic for them ... oh dear 'dead' anything is not so good ... cheers Hilary

  4. It is lovely for them but they are hunters . . .

  5. Freedom, they certainly look like they enjoyed it


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