Thursday, 25 June 2009

Combatting Mother Nature

Mother Nature is very unfair, sometimes.

We have two gorgeous cats, who occasionally bring home a mouse; sometimes, they bring home those creatures we euphemistically call "Big Mice", and we were relieved when we saw Washburn bringing one home from across the road (as it meant he hadn't caught it in our garden).

The other day, Washburn was playing with something in the garden; it was a little bird, too small to be a fledgling, so we thought it must have fallen out of the nest. DH dispatched it, as it was too young to survive.

A few days later, another one. Bit odd, we thought.

Yesterday, a third one. We realised that Wash must be getting them out of the nest himself. But how? Fortunately, perhaps, he gave us the answer himself. No sooner had we removed number thre from him than he ran off down the garden, and we heard the alarmed cries of the mother bird as Wash climbed straight up the apple tree.

He's a fantastic climber, has been since before he was allowed out. He used to climb our large potted plants when he was a baby; and the first day he went outside he ran out of the door and up the cherry tree. Anyway, I digress.

So, he climbed the apple tree, and then went along one very long branch which curved over and gave him access to another tree over the fence. It was very precarious, as the end of the branch was quite fragile, and he was swaying a lot trying to get ready for the jump to the other tree. Horrified at what he was about to do, I persuaded him to come back.

I called for DH, and showed him the branch that Wash was using, and suggested we take it out to stop his access. DH looked at me as though I had gone mad. It was a rather large branch. It was, effectively, quite a large part of the apple tree on that side. It was the apple tree whose fruit I really liked. There probably aren't any babies left, he reasoned. There probably are I, countered, why else would he be going back and why else would the mother be squwarking? He'll use the fence instead, DH countered; Well, he might do, but that's a lot more difficult for him.

In the end DH agreed to do it, but because it was quite a large job, we couldn't do it then and there as it was already mid evening. So, we'd hve to keep the cats shut in so they couldn't get any remaining babies.

What a palaver!

Cat flap blocked up (we can't just lock it, because Wash just barges through it, yes, even if its locked) with a special barricade, backed up by the chicken feed bin. Litter tray provided.

having fruitlessly tried to move the barricade, Wash escaped by climbing out of the open fan light on the living room window. It's hard to believe that he could reach, but he sort of jumped up and got his front paws hooked over, and then he heaved himself up. His backlegs were scabbling against the window but he wasn't getting any purchase from it, so in the end he did it with the strength in his feline forearms.

He was retrieved from the front garden, and ALL windows were shut tight. in case he tried ta suicide leap from an upstairs bedroom fanlight. Lots of scratching and running around, but we remained resolute.

Next morning, DH went out to attack the tree. Meanwhile. Wash wanted to go to the toilet and hates iusing the litter tray. He's a lovely little ginger boy, really fluffy, but he has this meow which is really high pitched and pathetic, the sort of noise a six week old kitten would make. He was mewing furiously. Running round the house, hurling himself at ou legs to get our attention, and getting really stressed.

We had a few callers (parcel deliveries, that sort of thing), and each time I had to shut Wash in the living room so that he couldn't slip past me.

In the end, he gave in and did his business in the litter tray. God, what a smell! Just in time, DH came in to announce that the tree was pruned, so we let Wash out. He was overjoyed! He ran out of the house, round the garden, and then just flopped over by a flowerbed and started washing himself.

It's funny. Most of the time he's not really bothered about being out. It was just the fact that he wasn't able to go out that made it the only thing he could think about.

I wish he'd have a go at some of the bigger birds. We're inundated with Pigeons (who are busy mating), and a really raucous gang of starlings.

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