Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Birds versus Cats

For the past seven years, thanks to the threatening presence of the cat next door, birds visiting our back garden have been a very rare treat indeed. But quite frankly, our next-door neighbour owned the ugliest tom-cat in the world.

He (the cat, not the neighbour) used to squat on our back garden wall and stare at us in a beefy threatening way until we dropped eye contact and sidled off furtively back into our kitchen in a diminuitive manner. He was the kind of cat that just looked like he smelt funny (I say this as a cat-lover). Sometimes, if I felt a bit cavalier and derring-do I'd pet him till he purred and rolled over to invite a belly-tickle, which oddly enough, I always declined with a "Ummm, uh, yeah, errr, thanks, but no thanks, ewwww". And I always felt the need to immediately wash my hands afterwards.

So, birds were a rare treat. Oh, except of course for the herring gulls squawking from nearby roof-tops who thankfully never visited the garden, though would always seem to make a special flyover visit just to crap on any bed-linen I might have dared hang outside to dry. Sheets to a seagull are obviously like red rags to a bull.

Last year, sadly, the bruiser (still talking about the ugly cat) moved on to the cattery in the sky. I think in the end my neighbour was somewhat relieved to see him go - he only ever came indoors to poo on his carpets (the cat that is, not my neighbour).

Since then I've spent a fair amount of time, money and effort over the past year making my garden bird-friendly. A carefully selected bird table, bird treats, nuts, fatballs, you name it, I had it. Nothing happened for weeks. Then months passed. But finally, they flocked. Blue tits, sparrows, wrens, robins, the impressive looking red-legged partridge. I can't say I relished the daily visits by the idiotic wood-pigeon - bird of fat body and tiny brain that would perch on the roof of the bird-table and seemed unable to figure out how to get to the seeds on the table below. But when it finally did figure it out it'd stay and scoff the lot.

I specially welcomed the gardeners friends, blackbirds and thrushes, who came and hung out daily hopping in and out and round all the containers and pots, dining on all the spiders and snails. My heros. Specially on the spider-munching front.

But it's all over now. Another set of neighbours have bought two kittens. Like I said, I love cats, so I'm quite  pleased to have them visiting our house and garden. Though now it's strictly supervised house-access only, after the recent muddy-paws-all-over-the-bathroom incident.

But I'm very sorry to find that the birds no longer feel safe to visit. Can't think why.


  1. It's not only freshly washed bed linen that's a target for bird crap - newly washed cars are too. Buggers.

    I don't like wood pigeons. They seem to take great delight in sitting atop the chimney and waking me up in the morning by making a racket. There's an air vent just outside my bedroom door, so it sounds like they're in my bedroom. Buggers.

    I do like cats. They're (mostly) not buggers. They can have the wood pigeons.

  2. a joy to read!...a wandering cat has got amongst the rubbish at our place and spread it all over the place so cats are not my favourite animal right at this moment....

  3. So very nicely put!
    Your drawings are such a delight!