Thursday, May 15, 2008

What Issi Saw.

I love my cat but there are moments Issi sorely tries my patience. I have to remind myself he is a cat; cats hunt. They hunt things I don't mind about ~ rats, mice, cockroaches, the odd snake ~ ok, I mind about the snakes. They hunt things you would prefer they didn't hunt ~ like native birds.

Twice in the last week there has been a mad scuffle & lots of shouting to effect the rescue of some of the dumbest of God's creatures. As my brother always says, 'There is a reason for the term *bird brain*.' None of the birds that live round here are what I would term overly bright... the Butcher birds maybe, but everything else wins awards for being bird brained.

Now Issi knows he's not allowed to hunt birds. The only time he gets in trouble with absolutely everyone in the house is if he catches a bird & I must say he's never actually killed one ~ or not that I'm aware of. I can hear the environmentalists clamouring already that he must have; he's a cat & as such should be killed without a 2nd thought. Perhaps... but Issi thinks he's people. We've found him sitting patiently waiting for us to get home, one large paw gently pinning a honeyeater down, to show us what a clever puss he is.
Glen Thelfo
Today Dearest found Issi circling round a Pitta. These bright little jewels are ground dwellers & Ditz was beside herself at the sheer loveliness of this tiny bird as I scooped him up from under Issi's very nose. Talk about one confused cat. The wings were a brilliant turquoise, the back & tail bright green with a gold flamed chest & russet crown. He was absolutely gorgeous & I was beside myself with delight to have found him in our garden. He was surprisingly tame though he'd hit a window & was more than a little stunned. I cupped him gently in my hands knowing that if he was ok he would soon make a bid for freedom & Ditz shoved Issi inside the house, mainly because he was owl~eyed with sheer jealousy that I was cuddling this unknown, uninteresting stranger rather than paying attention to him. Unfortunately Ditz didn't deal with Iss well enough I'm afraid. When the Pitta hit the ground Issi came running & had the bird pinned before it could gather its startled wits. I said they weren't too bright, didn't I? I grabbed Iss, wacked him one & shoved him back in the house, rounded up the bird & let him go somewhere safe.

I went inside, groveled to my cat, gave him tit~bits & told him what a good puss he was. Cat~like he fawned all over me, escaped back outside & sat on the verandah pretending butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. Ten minutes later he was missing. Yep, flushing the Pitta out of cover! He's slept the rest of the day All that exertion!
K Vang & W Dabrowka
Earlier in the week Iss found a Rail scrabbling around under the verandah. Again Issi hadn't touched it, just circling it with great interest. Liddy found the pair of them playing this dangerous little game & grabbed the Rail. Not being stunned by glass windows it was a far feistier proposition & the long sharp beak was used to make his point about Liddy's manhandling of his person!
This is another ground dweller & also very pretty though in a much more sedate way. I have only ever seen a rail round here once before, many years ago. I don't know if it's the building going on or just we've been luckier than usual in seeing some of the hidden visitors to our garden but it tells me that the garden is environmentally healthy, though a health hazzard if you're a particularly dumb bird & the cat spots you.
The kids, used to our more regular visitors & raised not knowing the word *bird* (there were kookaburras & culews, osprey & honeyeaters but they were in school before they heard the word *bird* used!) have been nearly as delighted as I have been to find newcomers in the garden. The Pitta flummoxed me. Ditz dancing round me in an agony of curiosity begging to know what sort of bird it was had to be sent to find the bird book because I didn't know. She didn't know such a thing was possible. lol. Now we are both wiser.


Constance said...

My folks are finally down to 1 kitty. They have had numerous over the years. My mother's favorite houselhold chore: feeding the birdfeeders for all of the wildbirds, including the little hummingbirds as well as the squirrels. There have been some birds meet their fates in her backyard when one of the kiity;s are out and about. She was angry with them but my Pop told her,
"Helga! They're cats and that's what cats do!"

Harumph! Not HER cats! They inevitably got the cold shoulder from her for a couple of days.

molytail said...

I found this in the wikipedia entry for the Pitta:

Many species of pittas are migratory, and they often end up at odd places like house-gardens during passage migration.

Maybe he was on his way somewhere?

I'm just even now listening to Toby at the window as he does his "chittering" noise -- does Issi do that about birds? Sort of a funny chirpy/chittery weird noise made with the mouth...not all cats do, but I have a couple who do and one of my mother's does... ONLY when they see birds. ;-)

Ganeida said...

We're on the migratory path for lots of species so you may be right & yes Issi chitters ~ & only for birds. Weird, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Issi reminds me of my friend's cat Gris, who used to live on 5 acres in semi-rural bliss. Gris used to sit on the veranda and watch the field mice scampering past her with complete disdain, or possibly mystification -- she wasn't the brightest of cats. I can only hope she showed the same degree of (dis)interest in birds.

Irrelevant animal fact: I once heard that sharks learn 12 times more quickly than cats. I'd still rather have a cat.