Food Chain

We’ve acquired a cat. My step-daughter has come back from university bringing a cat with with her. And we get to look after it while she goes off on a two-month world tour with her boyfriend. I have no objections to this at all. I like having a cat in the house. What has been particularly interesting is watching him trying to establish his place in the food chain. We have plenty of local wildlife.

On the first day that he started exploring beyond the back garden he met one of the local urban foxes. I’m not sure what the circumstances of the their meeting were. The first we knew of it, the cat was dashing into our garden with the fox in hot pursuit. The cat ran up a tree and the fox couldn’t follow. I went out into the garden and the fox ran away. It took ten minutes to persuade the cat down out of the tree though.

A couple of hours later the cat managed to re-establish some kind of superiority. He brought in a mouse. Fortunately (for us, I mean, not the mouse) it was dead. I disposed of it.

So we’ve established that cats trump mice but foxes trump cats. This morning there was an altogether more interesting contest. I was still in bed when I heard the cat flap open. Shortly afterwards there was an unearthly screaming from the kitchen. I was dispatched to investigate.

There was a cat vs squirrel fight going on under the kitchen table. And it was really hard to see who was winning. The cat obviously had the weight advantage, but the squirrel had the speed and agility. And the aforementioned screaming which seemed to be putting the cat off a bit.

I closed the kitchen door and opened the back door to ensure that if the fight moved elsewhere, it would be in the right direction. But neither of them showed any inclination to go back into the garden. Until suddenly the squirrel decided to make a break for it through the (closed) window. He sat on the radiator beneath the window scratching frantically at the glass. The cat sat on the floor watching. I grabbed a tea towel, wrapped the squirrel in it and threw it out the back door, where it picked itself up and made a sharp exit up a tree.

I went back to survey the damage. I was dreading finding the floor covered in squirrel poo or something like that. But I was spared that. I did, however, have to wipe rather a lot of squirrel blood off of the radiator. It seems the cat did more damage that I had first assumed.

Squirrels are just rats with good PR. They deserve anything the cat can give them. I just wish he didn’t bring the fights indoors.


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