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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Cat Who Remains

Good evening! I may have mentioned this before but Soot was a huntress--she learned not to bring home certain prey--the ones that Mom particularly found appealing--such as birds, squirrels, gray or red, and chipmunks. I have not noticed an increase in the avian visitors so I'm hoping that, in her old age, she gave up expending the energy to catch creatures that had a definite advantage--what's with that flying trick? However, since her demise on April 1 and the arrival of more of less nice weather our bird feeders, indeed our porch, seems to be overrun with the cute rodent creatures. Now, Soot had totally eradicated the chipmunks--after all, how hard is it to wipe out a population of little Alvins who foolishly dig their holes an easy jump off the porch--I mean right there--even I could have just stepped off and stepped on--really! She used to sit for hours just staring at the hole and when one of those little heads popped up before you could say " uh " Alvin was history! I wasn't happy but cats are hunters and if I'm going to have a cat it is going to be an outdoors normal creature or forget it.

Which brings me to this morning. Bill and I had slaved over the jungle of a lawn--40 days and nights of rain will create one even in Vermont! Okay, so I exaggerate but I don't want to tally the rainy days of this spring and, so far, summer for fear the actual count may do me in. I'd rather sort of joke about it and make like Noah--you know the famous two by two guy? Well, it seems we are in a two by two situation, though it may be worse. Without putting cute little bracelets on our rodent visitors' dainty wrists we don't know if we have just two red squirrels and two chipmunks or if there are considerably more but we only see two of each at any given time. Anyway, I digress. Bill and I decided to start today off with coffee on the porch. Mist who will only go outdoors under the most controlled situations deigned to join us. As long as we allow her to lie right in the middle of the table with the doors open to the living room she will relax. She will also venture out if we are visible indoors and again she doesn't get left on the wrong side of the screen door. Sometimes while we are at the table she will actually sprawl on the porch floor but only within inches of the open door!

So this morning, here we three were enjoying the new day and the early sunshine. Suddenly, there arrived a chipmunk in my lovely pink flowered pot. Misty arose and came to my side--her ears pricked forward, her haunches tightened to spring, the tip of her tail twitched back and forth. I told Bill in my best play calling voice of each change in stance and attitude. And then--she made some kind of a chirping sound and turned her back and walked away. Chippy, totally oblivious went on scavenging and departed. Red came to the hanging feeder and things settled down. Misty moved to the table.

Now, it is interesting the behavior of these two rather small and both red creatures with somewhat bushy tails ( of course, though they seem so similar, chippy DOES have those distinguishing stripes ). Red will sit for hours in the feeder and eat and eat and eat--yet at the end there are still some seeds for the birds. Chippy on the other hand is like a vacuum cleaner --he/she will take seeds and hulls and stuff those cheek pouches until you thing the skin would burst--the face actually becomes quite distorted and uncute. Once filled to capacity Chippy takes off to God knows where, unloads and returns for more. They keep it up until there is nothing left for Red or the birds--such gluttons!

So Misty had come to her favorite spot on the table between us and Chippy returned. She actually leaned toward Chippy but then turned to me as if to say, once Chippy had left yet again, " was I supposed to do something? " Sigh! No Misty, it's okay--just try to keep them out of the house--okay?

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