There is a new cat in the neighbourhood. I have a bit of a love/hate thing going with cats these days and this new one is moving squarely into the hate category.
On the plus side, cats are sweet. Unfortunately their positives (IMHO) end there.
On the minus side, cats use vegetable beds as litter trays (focusing on newly planted beds), they kill (and sometimes eat) native fauna and they terrorise my chickens.
Sorry cats, the cons seriously outweigh the pros in my little patch of the world.
Back to the new cat. That nasty little piece of work keeps coming into our back garden. I’m honestly not sure if she’s stalking my chickens or if she is simply wandering into their space and scaring the living daylights out of them. I hear them squawking and I run down to chase the cat from my back yard and calm my birds. This has happened several times over the past 2 or 3 weeks.
Then, the day I posted light-heartedly about Isabel being afraid of passing birds, the squawking became screaming and flapping. I ran to the window clapping and yelling (letting the cat know who’s boss) to see Isabel and Rosie running up towards the house, the cat turning to pounce into the shrubs by the back fence, and Bronwyn nowhere to be seen. I ran to the back door shouting and got out in time to see Bronwyn flapping and screaming and escaping from the bushes where the cat pounced.
Did the cat just coincidentally turn from 2 flapping chickens and a maniacal woman to land on Bronwyn or was she going for it? I have no idea. Bronwyn and the other chooks definitely think the cat is hunting them.
I caught Bronwyn and checked her but found no marks from claws or teeth. I released her and pounded the bushes to make sure that horrid cat was gone. When I turned I saw all 3 chooks by my back door. I picked a kale leaf to feed them to distract them from their distress. Rosie and Isabel came to the bottom of my back stairs and ate it. Bronwyn sat panting with wings half out on my back stoop. I ripped the leaf and gave her a piece which she ate but she still wouldn’t move.
The 4 of us sat like that for about 1/2 hour until Frank got home. When I told him what happened, he went to the street behind ours and knocked on doors asking who owned the cat that was attacking our birds. No one confessed or even knew who owned the cat. Is it a stray? Were the owners out? Did the owners lie?
It took Bronwyn a good hour to calm down enough to leave my back stairs. I spent the whole time sitting near her talking softly, trying to reassure her.
The next day, all 3 of my chooks laid eggs like normal but they no longer scratch in delight along my back fence. Since the attack, they hang out all day in the top half of the garden. Clearly that little bit of paradise at the bottom of the garden is now populated with monsters and they are not interested in spending time there. They spend all their time near the house and seem most content on my back steps.
I hate that cat. I try not to hate all cats, but they are not just attacking my birds, they are really doing a number on all kinds of animals – natives and introduced. Even friendly little fat pets hunt for fun – it’s just their nature.
I’m not all that worried that my girls will be killed by a cat, stray or kept, but I know they can be terrified and I don’t like that one bit.