So, in honor of International Cat Day 2014, a departure from wildlife to celebrate my family cats. My household is currently graced with three feline companions, two males and a female. Jonahay, the senior cat, is 15.5 years old and the only one allowed to go outside now and again. According to my vet, he is the strongest cat and most stubborn cat he has met – it has taken two guys over 6 feet tall to try and hold him down to get a pill into him. In the end, they gave him a shot while he was immobilized.
In his younger years, he would occasionally hunt – not to eat anything but to bring interesting, living and moving “toys” inside. Over time, I had to remove birds, a baby rabbit, chipmunks, garter snake and field mouse from inside the house. During that time, only a couple birds and a couple mice did not survive when he clamped down a bit hard to prevent them from getting away or me taking them from him. Now, he will sit in the yard or rest on the front porch rocker with a squirrel or bird two feet away and just cast them a glance. The only creature that will rouse him for a chase is a chipmunk – for some reason, he still finds them too cool to leave alone.
Moasi, my 4-year-old female tortoise shell, and Oginali (Ogi for short), a 4-year-old flamepoint Siamese, are strictly indoor cats. Well, as strict as I can keep it, as you will see further on. Moasi would not mind going outside and has made it outdoors twice but she stayed right by the house. In the house and screened-in back porch, she will hunt mice and insects.
Her fascination with insects has been to her detriment a couple times. Once I took her to the vet because she was foaming at the mouth and in obvious distress – she had likely eaten a stink bug, which is not a good thing for cats. About a week ago, she yelped with an open mouth and had some pain; a wasp that had gotten into the porch was gone.
Ogi also has a hunting instinct but his fascination is squirrels. When inside, he will occasionally join Moasi in getting a mouse but his great ambition is to catch a squirrel. He watches quite carefully when I open the back door to go out into the yard and despite my caution, over the years he has managed to escape about 5 times. He fortunately will stay in the yard but will not let me catch him; I just have to be patient and wait for his return.
Once he is outdoors, he will track and stalk the squirrels. They are not very fearsome as they learned that Jonahay will leave them alone. They wait until Ogi nears about two feet, and then either stroll or scamper away, depending on their mood.
The other day, Ogi made another great escape. He hung out by the ground feeding station and stayed put until one deer came too close.
He then began stalking, one squirrel after another. One squirrel began taunting him. The squirrel got up on a fence about three feet above Ogi and waited until he was very near before jumping into a tree.
At one point, the squirrel got into a crepe myrtle about 3 feet above ground. Ogi approached and was just about to jump up when the squirrel darted down and looked like he was going to smack Ogi with his paw. I sprinted toward the tree and yelled so the squirrel changed direction and went up. Ogi, of course, was quite disappointed. He has come very close to capturing a squirrel during a chase but just missed – to my relief.
After that, the squirrel jumped down and led Ogi on a merry chase through the yard, sometimes stopping until Ogi got a bit close and then continuing to run.
Panting with exhaustion – or excitement – Ogi laid down to rest for a while. After about 90 minutes, he condescended to come back inside. Keeping him an indoor cat will remain a challenge for sure!
Next blog – Hoppers!