Monday, February 16, 2009

Cat and squirrel

Living in the woods brings not just me into closer contact with forest residents. Even my indoor cats gets to see more of them than is likely the norm. The bird feeder, of course, is an ever-fascinating source of entertainment for them. But it’s not just the birds they get to see.

Saturday brought a squirrel and cat encounter that was even closer than what you see here. For a few seconds the squirrel and the cat were within half an inch of each other, though separated by two panes of glass. Each stared at the other, and they even appeared to "touch" noses at each other. Unfortunately that was a photo that didn’t get taken, mostly because the cat’s body blocked the view of the squirrel right beside it.

Even the indoor cats aren’t limited to seeing just birds and squirrels, though. One day both were glued to the window staring outside, so I had to look, too, to see what they were finding so entrancing. That day I discovered a red fox nosing around in the brush just a few feet behind the cabin. We all got to watch it poking under downed logs and sniffing the leaves for several minutes before it finally moved on. Who knew that cats would be so interested in a fox?

Deer are commonly seen by Dog and Baby Dog during our morning or evening walks. There’s nothing that gets a dog revved up quite like the scent and sight of a deer. I have the arm muscles to prove that one. I suppose the cats have seen deer, too, but they don’t appear to care about them one way or the other.

Raccoons also rev up the dogs, and when I hear Baby Dog’s full-throated roar of outrage, I can almost bet one of the raccoons is up on the front deck. The cats tend to be more interested than outraged by the raccoons, and I’ve seen a few almost scarily close encounters between them. All that separated them was a rather rickety door screen, and I thought that was just a little too close for my comfort, if not theirs. Either side of that encounter could likely have torn through that old thing without drawing a deep breath.


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

We have several good dog/squirrel chases per week here along the river…someone lets Moon the dog out for a bit, a squirrel happens to be raiding a bird feeder and gets caught away from one of the trees, someone sees other other first—and off things go. It's been close a time or two, but so far the squirrels have won.

We also have raccoons and possums amble across the deck during the night (as well as the occasional cat) which is right outside Moon's sleeping quarters on the great room couch. Barking ensues. We awaken. I can actually tell the difference between Moon's coon/possum and cat barks. Which are nothing like her daytime squirrels bark, or her FedX/UPS guy bark.

Have you seen the video (on YouTube, I think) of the street guy in Calif. with the big dog with the cat riding on his back and their smaller pal the white rat? A neat video, actually.

greentangle said...

My cat loves watching the various critters. There's a small wild area across the alley where squirrels, chipmunks, and birds feed on chokecherries and ash berries. Also a brushpile now covered with snow with a hibernating chipmunk inside and where a couple rabbits have lived.

This summer a large spider had a web for a couple weeks right outside my window and the cat would watch him, picking up predator tricks. But crows are his favorite which always elicit chittering sounds and clashing teeth.

Bird Advocate said...

That's an amazing picture. Thank you for keeping those critters separated.