Not long after the end of the recent UK/UL football game, not so “little” brother Steve posted a Facebook photo of a big vivid bluejay strutting around his front yard with a caption that read “What a Cardinal looks like right now.”
I commented that there was one sitting on my front porch rail that I could practically reach out and touch because it was so intent on stealing my not- so-wild cat’s food.
Steve replied that the one on his lawn was also in the process of stealing cat food.
We have two outside cats that do not get along with each other. One of them rules the front porch and the other rules the rest of our outdoor property.
The front porch cat, Fancy Pants, is a full-stock Maine Coon (longhaired) who weighs less than five pounds. The yard cat, Cooney, is shorthaired cat of many colors with a dubious family tree that I really don’t care to trace.
Cooney weighs about double Fancy and she is a bundle of solid muscle who more than earns her keep by annihilating the mole, vole and mouse populations within a quarter mile of our house. She has even dragged in a very large barn rat more than half her size and she averages four or five of the other aforementioned rodents each week, not counting the ones she eats. I know that she frequently dines on fresh meat because I find the blood and entrails of her meal on the driveway.
If Cooney gets close to the porch, Fancy can puff up such that she looks larger than a groundhog and snarl like she’s ready for a fight. Apparently Cooney, who could, hog tied, whip five Fancy’s in a matter of seconds, doesn’t recognize the bluff, or perhaps she is deferring to Fancy’s age. Cooney is only a year old and Fancy is coming up on eight. Anyway, for whatever reasons, they seem to have an agreeable treaty.
But If Cooney ever saw Fancy run to hide when the bluejays help themselves to her food bowl, I’m reasonably sure she would laugh out loud. Suffice to say that Cooney’s bowl is right beside the back door and no self-respecting bluejay will get closer to it than the pasture fence, some 30 feet away. I do see them perched on the fence, gazing longingly at her bowl, but apparently the story of the mockingbird who attempted to accost Conney has become legendary in bird world. Said mockingbird is no longer among the living.
I will spare you the details of the mocker’s demise, but I have never seen the cat pay the slightest interest in any other birds that may be foraging in the yard within a scant few feet of her. As you may already know, mockingbirds believe it is their sworn duty to bedevil cats. Cooney does not take kindly to bedevilment. ‘Nuff said.
In the meantime, one flogging is all it took for Fancy to literally “hightail it” to as far as she could get beneath my Rufus Harrison platform swing anytime a hungry jay alights on the porch rail. If there’s food in the bowl, they take their fill even though I’m sitting no more than five feet away. I’ve even tried to get them to eat out of my hand but no luck so far. I figure it’ll happen when we get our first good snowfall and they have no other choice but to light on my hand upon discovering the cat bowl is empty and they succumb to the notion that they can’t live without kitty kibbles. Loretta says we have to stock up on bird food because we can’t afford to feed them cat food. Just two jays can empty Fancy’s bowl in less than five minutes. The same amount is more than the cat will eat in 24 hours.
So, I have taken to rationing Fancy’s food into portions that I believe she will eat three times a day and standing guard while she takes her meal. However, if I take a seat, the jays will fly in and gobble up Fancy’s meal almost as rapidly as it takes her to hide from them.
I often just sit back and watch because the show is way better than anything on television.