If there was that proverbial dog house in this apartment, Mr. Nick Eyerman — the cat, not my older brother although he may be in a dog house of his own — would be firmly planted in it maybe never allowed to come out again! Well, that wouldn’t happen since his God-mom, Judith, would probably report me to the SPCA. And, to add to my punishment, even more serious than the authorities hounding me, she might just cross me off her list of “friends“. She told me one time that one of her friends was going to get rid of her Grandmother’s cat after grandmama died. Judith didn’t hesitate — she took the cat and and got rid of the friend. I didn’t want to take that chance.
That sweet male cat of mine who bares his belly to everyone — people who hate cats, strangers who don’t even offer Temptations, even the toughest trainer in the world — became a killing beast this week. That’s right — truly a BEAST!
There he was, harmless I thought, striding out to the porch to get his daily dose of sunshine and birdwatching. I like to let them out there. I think of it as giving them a summer vacation. They tell me they enjoy it, they do! Rose, the queen that she is, will just calmly curl herself around the biggest, coolest pot and contemplate how many hours it will be before she can eat, yet again. Nick, on the other hand, likes
more action. To accommodate him, Finn, my sweet guy next door, and his folks put up a bird feeder. All day long little sparrows (as greedy as Rose when it comes to food), little finches and even a cardinal or two, alight on the little, teeny-tiny perches and gorge themselves. Nick is very appreciative. He tucks himself on the closest pot and watches all day. I am pleased with this arrangement — Nick can satisfy his pleasures of the hunt, vicariously at least, and the birds can taunt him from above delectably close but out of paw reach, and I don’t have to worry about any of them. We all were winners!
Until Monday … I was just sitting calmly at my computer at the dining room table, listening to soothing classical music, satisfied that all was well in my world. “Squawk!!! Squawk!!!!” I looked over at Rose on the back of the couch to see if she had noticed. She gave me a look that said that whatever was happening on the porch had nothing to do with her and went back to sleep. “SQUAWK!!!!”
I couldn’t ignore this — out I went. Nick was perched on a different pot — away from those little sparrows, staring down at the squawk. Like a wrathful god, I pointed my finger at him to Get Inside Now, he stayed put. I peeked behind the pot. I found the squawk and a living pile of brown, fluffy feathers, too big for one of those sparrows.
I felt bad. I said, to the bird, “You stupid bird! Didn’t you see the cat was out here?” Guilt spread through me immediately — never, ever blame the victim. Nick waited for me to do something to retrieve his kill instead I herded him and me back inside and locked the screen door.
“SQUAWK!!!! SQUAWK!!!! SQUAWK!!!! SQUAWK!!!! SQUAWK!!!! SQUAWK!!!! SQUAWK!!!!
This bird was persistent. I had to go out again — alone. I started to talk soothingly as soon as I went on the porch, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry but I don’t know what to do with a wounded bird, I don’t really.” I didn’t tell this bird that the one time I did try to rescue a bird it died. There was no need to cause it more stress, eh? I shuffled over to the pot and peered over, the bird was gone but the squawk wasn’t. I moved my foot and almost finished the poor thing off by stepping on it. More mea culpas. I took one look at that bent wing and thought I should get a shoebox ready. But reality hit — how was I going to get said bird from porch into box without picking it up? The bird must have considered all this because it took one look at me and flew off to a high branch in the chestnut tree next door. He squawked all the way just so I’d know he was upset. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!” I was pitifully relieved that I didn’t have to deal with the wounded, as well as the wounder-er, animal at the same time.
But it wasn’t over. That still squawking bird alerted every bird species in the area — WARNING! WARNING! KILLER CAT IN THE VICINITY!. This caused a whole cacophony of fellow bird chatter telling me and the whole street just what the hell they thought about that killing beast I shelter. I’m sure after five minutes of this the word had gotten out to the whole Greater Toronto Bird Area. They probably even had a GPS showing the house and a full description of the “killer” beast out on the net by now. Most of the birds kept their distance, shouting at me from the trees and wires — smart birds — but one Bob-Bob-Bobbing Mother Robin was having none of that. She plunked herself right down on the railing of the porch and told me outright that if I thought that beast of mine was going to get her babies well I was sorely mistaken. I apologized to her too.
Later, when all the hoopla seemed to be over, I let Nick out again. After all, he was just doing what came naturally — even if it was nasty. Before I opened the door, I gave him stern, Do-This-And-You-Die orders to stay off of chairs that would give him an easy reach to low-flying birds. He promised.