Last night I went out to feed Ollie (yeah, the stray cat…we named him “Oliver Twist” because of how much he loves food, glorious food..) And I’m not sure I should have named him – yet – because then you claim him – and he’s not really ours. but I digress…. The thing is, I heard an owl hooting up in a tree somewhere in the yard. My first thought was “do owls eat cats?” but Ollie didn’t seem worried, so I put it out of my head. I did think about the chickens I’m thinking about getting… and how I’d better build them a coop to sleep in.
The reason is the hens I lost back when I was a kid. We had about half-a-dozen laying hens, who ranged free in our yard and laid the most amazing tasting eggs. At night they roosted in the pine trees. Then came a morning when one of our hens was missing. Then a couple days later another hen went missing, then another. Not only was I sad and angry but I was really irritated and confused – what the heck was happening to them?? That night, I went and sat underneath the trees and watched the hens roosting there. All was calm…then stealthily and silently, an owl swooped down and landed on the same branch as my hens, between them and the trunk of the tree. For whatever reason, I didn’t connect the owl with my hens’ disapearance… I just though “ooh, cool, an owl!”
Now, hens, they sleep fairly deep. You can gently move them around without waking them… at least that’s how my hens were. So that sneaky old owl… he sat on the branch, then slowly moved over an inch or so. All the hens scootched a bit toward the end of the branch. Once they settled, that owl moved another inch or so… and so did all the hens. I still had no idea what was going on… I guess I just thought he couldn’t get comfortable. Or wanted to be near the hens. I guess I’m not real bright! Because this kept going on for awhile until the last hen was at the very end of the branch… yet still she moved over when the owl ‘shoved’ them… and as my poor henny fell out of the pine tree, that sneaky old owl swooped down, snatched her mid-air, and flew away with her!!! It was horrible, and I had just set there and watched it happen!!
Well, I finally knew where all my hens had gone. That day dad and I built a cozy little coop and we didn’t feel that owl any longer. Guess I better get busy building if I want to have hens now that stay safe out in my yard!
So I was sitting here on the couch drinking tea when the cat came by… the stray I am feeding, yowling like he does at the front window so that I will come out and give him a little love and some dinner. Generally, I pop right up and head to the garage for his food. I then sit down on the bench out front while he kneads my fuzzy jacket, then we head out to the shed where I kneel down, reach under the roll-up door that’s opened just a few inches, pull out the dish and put his food in. Generally he shoves his head in the bowl as I am pouring so several bits end up on the wooden plank outside the shed… but he eats it all up like he hasn’t eaten in months. But, tonight. I had just made my tea, so it was piping hot, the way I like it. I didn’t want to drink it cold, and I don’t like the microwave…. I thought he’d wait around. He usually does. But when I finally got around to pulling on my coat and my knit hat (that my husband says makes me look like I ride the short bus) he was gone. I called and called – every time before he has come running as fast as his cat legs will carry him from wherever it is he was doing whatever it was he was doing… but not tonight. I called and called – I mean, it was only like 20 minutes, how far would he have gone? Did he give up on me that quickly? With my highly developed abandonment issues, I am feeling sad that he left me, and guilty that he may feel that I have abandoned him. I hate both of those feelings.
I went ahead and put his food in the dish in the shed. Perhaps, he will find it there tonight if he goes in to get out of the rain, and know that I would never abandon him. It’s not what I do.
There has been this stray cat in the neighborhood. I always say “hey” to him, but he always runs off like a shot from a cannon… I’ve never gotten more that a full street width near to him… until a couple nights ago. I was out in the driveway, getting into the car, when suddenly he is yelling at me from the field next door. At first I heard him but didn’t see him, and I was afraid he’d gotten stuck in my parents’ back shed again (that happened this summer) – but then I saw him in the headlights of the car, just a few feet away, looking right at me. I worried that he was stuck or injured or something, because he’d never really shown much interest in me before, but when I walked over to him he ran off a few feet, so I guess he was okay. I figured maybe he was just really hungry, and maybe he thought since I’d been nice enough to say hello to him maybe I’d feed him. Which of course I did. I ran into the garage and grabbed a handful of dogfood, and he practically inhaled it! Suddenly, I am the cat’s best friend. The temperature has been down in the single digits at night, so mom and I have been feeling sorry for him anyway…. so we propped open the back door of the shed just a few inches so he could hunker down inside, and we bought some cheap cat food at the market, and I thought he’d do whatever it was he had been doing, except perhaps be grateful for a meal and place to get out of the weather.
Well, think again! All these months of avoiding me, and suddenly he realizes he’s been lonely and really needs some human love… every time I walked out the door today, that guy was all over me. (Yeah, too bad he’s just a cat, eh?!) I figured – wrong again – that he’d hang out by the shed maybe, but he’s been right up on the back porch, meowing to get in… or get me to come out…. Criminy, it’s driving the dogs and our own cat nutty, that guy hanging out there! It’s just past midnight now, and he’s out there again. I guess he knows I’m still up. He’s right outside my parents bedroom, I hope he hasn’t awakened them! I was worried that my folks might be irritated that I started this whole mess, but Alan reminded me that MOM bought the cat food and propped the shed door open, and then tonight, my dad actually let the cat come into his workshop!
Shoot, they are as big of suckers for a poor animal in need as I am! Should be interesting to see what happens over the next few days as the dogs try to reclaim their backyard….