|Chickadee and pussycat - what could go wrong?|
In fact, I love them so much that I have built a bird garden in my back yard for them. Three birdhouses are available as nest sites. Then there is the arbor, the plants, and the numerous bird feeders. I thought I had made a small habitat where neighbourhood birds could come and enjoy the bounty, beauty, and boxes designed for them. I didn't know that, unwittingly, I also designed an entertainment and buffet center for cats.
Every year I have at least one or two pair of birds taking up the hospitality offered and begin raising a family in a birdhouse. This year a have one pair of chickadees for sure, and possibly a second pair, that have begun the process. We were out in the garden last night marveling at them coming and going from the nest cavity. As evening fell they nestled down for the night and we took to our own beds as well.
My dogs are early risers. The older of the two, Rookie, is motivated by food and is often up at the break of dawn. The younger one, now just over 7 months, is all about playing with his fuzzy, food-orientated buddy. At 5:15 this morning (45 minutes ago) they were both up plying me for what their hearts yearned for. "I want food." "Play with me." "I won't play with you until I've had food." "Play with me." And so goes the first few minutes of each day.
The rule is, and they know it, that their business had to be attended to first. We go out, they take care of that, we come in, and breakfast ummies are served. So, I plodded over to the door and let them out. As I exited my back door, which exits directly upon my bird garden, I made a horrifying discovery. A black cat, much like the one in the above photo, was perched atop my arbor. Immediately in front of it was the same next box which we were watching last night. It was waiting for something, and it didn't take much imagination to figure what that was.
At that moment I felt a bristling up my back and found my neck hairs standing erect. If I was a dog, I would have looked like a razorback. A plethora of ideas on how to deal with this intruder came upon me, and I have to admit to favouring the ones which were towards the violent end of the spectrum. However, such choices are no doubt frowned upon by local SPCA and police authorities; I needed a less pernicious plan of action.
"Scat," I hissed. Nothing. Flailing arms. No effect. My dogs didn't see it, although the idea of picking Rookie up and pointing her towards the offending target came to mind. "Too early," I thought; the neighbours would not approve, especially on a holiday Monday. Then I saw the garden hose.
Perfect. Cats hate water, I hate cats (at least this one at the moment). Sounds like a perfect match. So, I cranked up the pressure and pointed the wet end towards my intended target. Unfortunately, there was a kink in the hose somewhere and the anticipated rocket of water never materialized. Instead a pathetically limp smattering of water was brought forth, and I could only hint that the cat was about to take a bath. It was enough though, and it turned tail and ran.
Last year I had a cat, or perhaps a raccoon, ransack one of my birdhouses and kill off whatever was in there. I don't want the same thing this year. I am going to erect something to keep such pests at bay; I wonder if the SPCA would approve of a howitzer?