The neighbour’s cat, perhaps finding hunting mice too tame a game these days, appears to have set its sights on more substantial fare. Not only has it been seen stalking the local pheasants – and given the dimness of the local pheasants, it’s surely only a matter of time before it catches one – but it has begun looking at us with a worryingly assessing gaze. It’s bad enough having to dig out several tons of Crocosmia in order to claim back a square foot or two of flowerbed, but doing it with a cat intent on stalking and pouncing on my fork gets rather tedious. It then pounced on my turned back (thank goodness for fleece, I say, although maybe if I wore something that made me look less like prey I’d do better). It also tried launching itself from the wheel arch of the car onto the other half, although apparently it changed its mind comically in mid leap having decided it was better off not attacking someone with access to a pressure hose who will not hesitate to use it. We’d feel securer if it hadn’t also worked out how to get in through our bathroom window which is disconcerting when you were rather hoping to have the bathroom to yourself.
But we’re not taking it that personally, because the cat is just a trainee killing machine and will pounce on anything that moves and some things that don’t. During the course of yesterday the cat variously attacked its own shadow, a bee, several leaves, a buddleia bush, a figment of its own imagination and the shed, and then actually caught a shrew which it carried around squeaking furiously (the shrew, not the cat) while we both implored it to do the decent thing and kill it properly. And so far, we’ve yet to be troubled by any more mice.
The other half is now hoping it will concentrate on its pheasant stalking skills and start bringing us back the spoils. The cat is undoubtedly hoping that we’ll turn our backs for just long enough for it to get a really good run up at us. Though if that’s going to work, it might have to rethink its hiding technique.