Saturday, August 19, 2006

We have all the pleasure of owning cats, without any of the responsibilities - we borrow them from our neighbours! On one side there is a lovely hyper chatty cat and on the other side a tribe of five. Most of them come over for daily scratching (definitely no feeding or they might just move in!) and of late we've nicknamed them collectively the "marauding kitties" as they tend to lie in wait at the front door and make a mad dash to be let in as you leave. Alternatively one of them presses his nose to the french doors onto the back garden and glares balefully at us until we let him in - the pressure!

Turns out the nickname is apt for more than one reason. Yesterday evening I looked out the window while dishwashing and noticed a little crumpled shape next to a fat cat under one of our apple trees. My heart sank, but I felt obliged to attempt a rescue. It was a terrified fledgling wood pigeon shrunk down into please-don't-notice-me-I'm-not-really-here pose. Since it didn't appear outwardly injured I seperated it from now growling cat and put it in a box in our guestroom. The internet is a great place to look up things after office hours - soon I had established what to feed it (mashed up digestives in water) and how to care for it (dark and quiet box).

This morning we put it back in the apple tree and within half an hour the parents had found it and were feeding it enthusiastically. I was so thrilled, watching them from the study window periodically throughout the day. Immensely satisfying. This evening through the french doors we saw a blur of furry fat cat and I started yelling my head off. Would you believe it a different cat was trying to make off with our poor fledgling who had attempted another flight and landed on the lawn again! Once again we trotted to the rescue (the cat confused by my enraged yelps, but nevertheless still fairly determined).

So we go to sleep tonight with the little bird once again ensconced in the guestroom. One hopeful sign is that this evening (unlike the day before) it was actually trying to fly out of the box, but hasn't quite figured out how to take off from such a sharp angle. Let's hope that means its flying technique is improving rapidly and that tomorrow morning it will successfully be able to fly out of harms way. The fat cat was up the apple tree looking for him tonight, so it had better learn quickly!



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