Moving here to Ashland from Maui was a big deal for us people. After all, temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s, gas furnaces, thermal underwear come as a shock to people used to sunbathing year around.
But for Sadie, our young black-n-white and her two companion cats, moving here has been quite the adventure.
No longer is it the horse in the back pasture, but a family of deer in our front yard. No longer the placid Mourning Doves that allow themselves to be captured from time to time, but the cheeky Stellar Blue Jays, who taunt the cats from trees close by until the felines give up and go in the house — and the birds move in for their seeds.
This morning I watched from a window as Sadie tried a new tactic. She’s been wondering what those bushy-tailed, branch-thumping, tree-hopping little guys were who shared the deck bird feeders with the jays. Today, instead of launching herself out the door to try to grab one, only to watch it sail out to the nearest tree trunk, she tried sneaking across the deck. Of course the squirrel saw her. He began scolding and thumping on the railing near the feeder. But we watched him as he apparently was calculating her speed, reach and determination.
“Oh, time for another seed,” you could see him saying to himself. “I’m faster than she is.” Sadie came closer. The squirrel got bolder and more determined to hold his space. Then the two of them were nearly nose to nose, neither twitching a toenail for a long minute. Sadie reached up, he backed away. She sat back down, eyes still riveted on the squirrel. He moved back to the feeder, thumbing his squirrel nose at her.
This time, when she reached up, he didn’t move away. Stretching her right forepaw up to the railing, she actually brushed against his hindquarters. This time he sprang for a tree limb to escape, and probably to lick his wounded pride while Sadie spent the next few minutes patrolling the deck’s railing between the feeders, preening herself proudly.
We’re concerned that the squirrel might come back with another strategy tomorrow. Then who’ll win?