Category Archives: Cats

Bob the Cat

Bob the bobcat lives south of Tuscon, Arizona, where the skies shimmer with summer heat. He hangs out near the creek, partly for its coolness and a drink of water, but also because his potential lunch victims have the same idea.

Too late, the rabbit identifies those deadly black stripes on Bob’s legs, his bobbed tail, and the tufts of hair on his ears.

Bob loves a little rabbit lunch. On a lucky day (lucky for the rabbit), he will get away and Bob has to settle for one of the many other creatures that live in the desert.

Did you think the desert was just sand and cactus? Think again.  Small animals like lizards, snakes,  rabbits and hares,  chipmunks, quail, doves, and many more birds, mammals, rodents, reptiles, and insects live there.

Plenty of food for a bobcat. It should be an ideal life, but there are cactus spines to pull out of sore paws, and some insects to beware of. And did I mention rattlesnakes? Or ticks?

One of the local animals that gives bobcats trouble is the coyote. If there are trees around, Bob is probably safe. All he has to do is leap up into a tree and wait until the coyotes get tired.

However,  trees are not always handy. Coyotes often travel in small groups and are one of the bobcat’s main enemies.

Like the coyote, Bob has adapted to humans and doesn’t mind lurking at the edge of urban areas.  You might not think this pretty creature is dangerous, but if you are a small dog or cat, look out.

Doesn’t Bob look pettable? I’d be tempted to reach out to stroke his soft fur, but I know  he is not wanting my attentions. I’m guessing he has sharp claws and teeth.

Still … I would love to have a few tame moments with Bob purring and cuddling up close to me to be petted. Ah, well … that’s not going to happen — not in the real world.

Permission to use these photos has been kindly granted by Trisha Tubbs who took the photos near Quail Creek, Arizona.

The River Sportsman

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In the town of Campbell River, above the banks of the Campbell River, is a wonderful sports shop called The River Sportsman. In one corner of the store you can sit almost on the river while you have a coffee and decide which fly rod you want to mortgage the house for.

Oi veh! My tongue is in my cheek as I notice the camo gear on the right. You may remember my post about camo gear. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2018/03/09/camo/

Inside the store are many samples of wildlife that have been mounted (taxidermed) – (stuffed animals). The lighting is very bright and the glass cases in which some of the mounts are kept reflect the light, making it difficult to get a good photo.

The first is a grizzly, which is not USUALLY found on Vancouver Island, although several instances are recorded of grizzlies who have obviously swum across from the mainland, most likely island hopping and making short swims to finally reach Vancouver Island.

This is not a particularly large grizzly, but I wouldn’t want to meet him just the same. Intimidating teeth and claws, in spite of his pretty smile.

Another bear we don’t have here is the polar bear. Of all the bears, I think he is the most dangerous and close to the size of the Kodiak (which, like grizzlies, are a subspecies of the brown bear). The largest polar bear on record weighed 2209 lbs. and stood 11 ft. 1 in. on his hind legs. The bear on this photo is nowhere near that record, but I wouldn’t want to get a bear hug from him.

Another animal we don’t have on the island is the Rocky Mountain goat. It makes a handsome addition to the zoo in the sports shop.

Now we come to the animals that are prolific on Vancouver Island. Cougars are all over the island. I can’t imagine why I worry about black bears  when I’m mushroom picking, when I really should be worrying about these cats instead. They are much more likely to attack a person than a black bear is, especially if that person is walking alone or with a small pet.

The sports shop is full of birds and mammals on the walls and in glass cages. One of the walls has a wolf mount, but I didn’t feel inclined to take its picture. Now that I’m writing about the prolific cougar, I’m wishing I had a wolf picture to place with  the cats. Wolves are also plentiful, especially on the northern part of the island. I have no illusions about what a wolf can do to a deer or a lamb on a sheep farm.

The visit to The River Sportsman was entertaining for me while my friend shopped till she dropped. Maybe they put these animals in the shops on purpose to keep customers in the stores. It seems to be working.

Falsely Accused

Cowboy and Shorty were partners in crime. Cowboy was a sleek, smoky gray cat with ears that seemed a bit large for his smallish head. His brother, Shorty, was a perfectly made Siamese. Well, almost perfect. Sometimes when the sunlight shone on his tail, faint rings told of a certain amount of alley cat ancestry.

The brothers loved each other very much. They wrestled, snuggled up to sleep, and sometimes, they got into mischief together.

It’s hard to say which of them was smarter, but invariably, when the two of them did something they shouldn’t, it was Shorty who got caught.  It was like that the time they decided to check out the kitchen garbage can after I went to bed.

The kitchen garbage can was kept in a cupboard under the sink. It was easy for a smart cat to get into. All Cowboy had to do was to hook his paw under the door and pull. Then quick as a wink he would stick his head in the open space and squeeze through. I’d seen him do this often enough.

Here’s what I think happened:

The lights have just been turned out. The people are in bed.

A lovely aroma of chicken scraps greets Cowboy as he peers over the rim of the garbage can. Up on his hind legs, he spies a half-eaten chicken drumstick. So much meat left on it. Pieces of skin not eaten. He’s drooling in anticipation of the wonderful snack, when a Siamese paw reaches past him and scoops that drumstick right from under his nose.

“Meeeooow!  Shorty!  Give that back,” he spits.

“Sh-sh-sh!” Shorty hisses. “You’ll wake the people!”

He hears a pair of people feet land on the floor in the bedroom. The shuffling of slippers comes closer.

“Yikes!” Shorty thinks, “I’m getting out of here,” and he slips out of the cupboard and sits on the floor as prettily as he can, eyes looking towards heaven.

“You don’t fool me, Shorty!” Anneli says, shaking her finger at him.  “I know you were in that garbage can again.  Weren’t you?  Bad cat!  Don’t you do that again!  Bad Shorty!”

“I wonder how much mess he made,” she grumbles.

She opens the cupboard. There sits Cowboy, licking his paws and washing his face.  All that’s left of the “snack” is a tiny piece of chewed up drumstick bone.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Remember the famous hit song by the Platters, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”?

Well, I hadn’t thought of it in years, until last night when I was watching “Endeavour” on TV with the closed captioning turned on. I often have it turned on for British shows. It helps a lot when I don’t understand the English speaking English.

One of the suspects had a cigarette lighter, possibly a clue to the murders, engraved with something to do with Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. I missed the clue and its significance because I was laughing too hard at the closed captioning. You know that closed captioning is limited in its ability to translate voice into the printed word. Well, I needed Cowboy, my late cat, to help me read the captioning for you.

Here, at the bottom of the photo, is what it said, as the police looked at the cigarette lighter’s engraving:

“They ask meow I knew … Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

For more closed captioning fun, see my post entitled “Special Delivery.” https://wordsfromanneli.com/2017/09/21/special-delivery/

Complete Trust and Friendship

This Protection Island tabby came out to greet us as we explored the neighbourhood.

The display of friendship was obvious when Kitty approached us even though I, at least, was a stranger.

“Can you come in and have a saucer of milk with me? Perhaps a snack of tenderized mouse tidbits?”

“Thanks for the kind offer,” I told her, “but we’re going to have lunch after our walk. Perhaps you’d like to join us instead. It’s tender slices of another of your favourites – a bird.” I thought of the chicken that would dress up our salad.

“Neeow thanks,” Kitty said. “I think I’m too fat to walk that far.”

“It’s easier just to have my belly rubbed.”

Kitty must have had a good home for many years to be so trusting. She does not expect anyone to hurt her or she would never lie down (making a fast getaway more difficult) and expose her ample belly, leaving her most tender parts unprotected. That takes complete trust.

“My life is in your hands,” she purrs. “Just rub my tummy gently and I’ll be your friend forever.”

To see such trust got me thinking. People could learn a lot from animals (and I don’t mean “how to get your belly rubbed”).

 

The Calico Cat

When the Captain and ten-year-old Ruby went for a pheasant walk through the fields, the first thing they scared up was a beautiful calico cat who was also hunting by the side of the road. Ruby was startled and made a few leaps in the cat’s direction but the Captain called her back. I was surprised to see that Ruby was so quick to obey when the chase instinct must have been strong.dscn6774a

The cat was taking no chances and leaped up into the safety of a nearby cottonwood, and there she stayed, long enough for me to get some pictures anyway.  dscn6790a

As I zoomed the camera in, I noticed what a pretty cat this was. Not just your run-of-the-mill stray hunter.dscn6789a

And what gorgeous green eyes she had! I wanted to ask her to move her head so that twig wasn’t in front of her face but she wasn’t budging. She was safe in the tree and that’s where she would stay until all danger was past.dscn6788aI didn’t want to think about the baby birds she might have killed this spring. I preferred to think about the mice she catches so the prairies won’t be overrun with them.

mouse

The calico cat

Is not getting fat

But she’s keeping the prairies clean.

Oh mouse, you should run.

For the kitty, it’s fun

Though I’m sure you would think she is mean.

The calico cat

Has no cozy mat

By the fireplace, safe in a house.

She still needs to eat

And she’s quick on her feet,

So run for your life, little mouse.

Creeping Fog

I had to think of Carl Sandburg when the fog came creeping into the Comox estuary a couple of days ago.

FOG

THE fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

First it came padding in from the ocean and filled the bay.

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Then it reached out little wisps to test how far it wanted to continue.

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Fortunately, like Sandburg’s cat, it didn’t stay too long.