Monday, August 27, 2012

Medicare Cat, Please Listen...

We've all heard the Biblical phrase, "the lion lays down with the lamb". Quite a word picture of a docile little lamb next to the King of the Forest, a predator, whose mouth drools at the sight of its prey.

As children we were all taught that there are natural enemies in the animal kingdom. Cats chase mice, dogs chase cats, wild animals in the forest skulk about hiding from each other in their quest to eat or be eaten...aka, survival of the fittest.

With that in mind, I bring your attention to our cat, Medicare Man, Rowdy. He's approaching 18 now. Is feeble, grouchy, wants to be carried everywhere, whines constantly, and has a fit if he isn't outside in the late afternoon when the deer pass through our yard.  In the beginning, he just watched, keeping a safe distance from them up on the porch, and then something odd began to change in his attitude toward the deer.

I keep a water bowl on the sidewalk, by the steps leading to the front porch for the deer to drink out of, and , last summer, one particular doe came to our yard daily to drink from it. Well, that was then...and this is now. This same doe, Molly Brown, we've lovingly named her had twin bucks last summer, who are now yearlings and coming into their own.

Their names are Spike and John Jacob Astor. For young guys, they both have impressive racks. Speaks volumes, I suppose, of the studly buck who is their father, who chooses to remain anonymous most of the time.

John Jacob is a funny guy who comes into the yard, wants to be scratched between the ears and wants a drink of water, dang it!  That's all he wants and Rowdy won't let him near the bowl.

At first, I thought Rowdy went outside to be with his buds, but lately, my hubby and I have developed a much better understanding of what is actually going on.

Picture this, if you will: two yearling bucks, Molly, Rowdy and a water bowl, all within touching distance of each other. The deer are all looking wantonly at the bowl, as Rowdy sidles up next to it, daring them to come closer. If you strain your ears, you'll hear a low-pitched growl. "Who did that?"

It was Rowdy. John Jacob moves in for a drink. Rowdy raises his paw. John Jacob backs off and gives me a look like "can't you do something with him?" After a minute, John Jacob gets a little closer as Rowdy, lays his paw on John's snout. He didn't show his claws. He pushed him away, a little trick he learned at the food bowl when our other cat, Bob Anderson (God rest his soul) got in his way.

John moved away....far, far away. The others looked at Rowdy, looked at me, then back at Rowdy and slowly walked away, stopping every few steps to check out that little tiger cat fur ball with the big attitude.

Fast forward three days. Last night we were on the porch guffawing at the hummingbird wars in front of us, when John Jacob comes back. Rowdy moves in next to the bowl and meows at the deer. John looks up at me. He bent his neck toward the cat; Rowdy pushes his rack, then leaves the bowl and wanders around in the front yard. And who follows him but John. Rowdy turned around and they are nose to nose. I know Rowdy is coveting John's rack, and to prove how jealous and alpha he is, he pushed him again. And John ran away, his tiny tail between his....never, mind. Their tail ain't that long.

So today, John comes back. And wonder of wonders, the two of them are following each other around the front yard, and then sat together.

And the deer lay down with the Medicare cat.

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