[personal profile] sugarplumkitty
Yesterday, Loki didn't greet me as he usually does. There were NO kitties in the front yard. I went to open up the back windows to get some fresh air and there he was on the little patio in the back corner of the yard. I fed the kitties and he didn't come so I went to see if he was sick or something.

Or something turned out to be a young finch he'd obviously been playing with until they were both exhausted. It was perched on a fallen branch right next to him, sleeping. Squeakers was sitting about a foot away with an excited look on her furry little face as if to say, "Look Mom! A BIRD!"

I gently picked it up and looked it over. It held onto my hand with even force with its feet. Aside from one ruffled feather on its back, it looked fine. I put it in a branch of a tree and the kitties circled my feet. I chased them away. Squeakers loves playing chase and ran away only to circle back toward the bird, so I got the industrial sized spray bottle I have for prepping wrinkled laundry for tumble-press in the dryer and set it to squirt.

She was in the tree by the time I got back. Baby bird's parents had taken it higher in the holly tree and she was following. She's a smart little cat and learned what the squirt bottle meant. I finally convinced the damp cat to leave the birds alone, at least while I was out there.

This morning we had an alarm of a finch outside our window. TWEET! it yelled, TWEET-TWEET! TWEET-TWEET! TWEET-TWEET! I got up and shooed it away only to see all three cats gathered around the baby bird, again perched on the fallen branch. I went out and put the baby bird back in the tree and the parent bird stopped yelling. This time, baby bird was a bit alarmed to be picked up and hopped into the tree from my hand. I told it to stay high in the tree.

I shooed the cats. The two older ones shooed. Miss Cactus came into the house like a good kitty. Squeakers needed to be chased, again playing the chase game. I got the water bottle and discovered Loki had come back. I shook the water bottle as I approached and he left. Squeakers followed and doubled back, hopped up onto the fence and playfully leapt onto the neighbor's garage roof that the tree touches. I started shooting water at her. She ran past the top of the roof to hide behind the ridge and peeked at me. I squirted toward her. She ducked and cautiously peeked from the other end, then ducked, and peeked again. I squirted toward her and she disappeared. I waited. Then I saw Loki sneaking back along the side of the house and shook the bottle at him. He reconsidered and went back. That's when I saw Squeakers leaping through the branches of the neighbor's tree that overhangs our yard, heading for the front yard. I called out that she was a good kitty. Positive reinforcement!

I know darned well they're probably back under the holly tree waiting for that baby to mess up and land on the patio again.

That little bird is very lucky Loki is the dominant cat and he has no front claws. Its also very lucky that our cats don't know birds can be food. We'll see if it survives the day. I would bring our cats in but if I did I know Chloe, Dempsey or some other neighbor cat would come and take that baby bird. Loki out there is the bird's best chance of survival.

I've taught one cat in the past to leave birds alone. Hopefully, I can teach these. Ha! Loki and Squeakers both have such strong personalities, I doubt they'll listen. Miss Cactus probably is teachable.
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