Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ode to Allie's Prey, or Look What the Cat Dragged In

Today Allie brought in a hummingbird. Late this afternoon I heard cat commotion from the entryway, and familiar with this scenario, I arrived in a flash to see a tiny bird flapping up the wall, with my cat Allie in hot pursuit. I rushed to get a towel to rescue the pathetic little creature. Now quiet on the floor, I covered it with the cloth and tenderly took it outside. Sensing a tiny heartbeat in my hand, I couldn't help but peek. As I opened the towel in the sunlight,  the bird metamorphosed from a brown, limp lump into a magical creature sporting a  fluorescent-magenta circle on it's tiny head. It still looked half-dead, so I suspected it would not recover. But, repeating my usual ritual, I took it across the street, far from harm, and laid it on a soft, sun-warmed bed of leaves, possibly its final resting place. From this perspective I could observe the vivid coloration on the bird's brow, and was again awestruck by its beauty. I nudged the inert body a few times, and was stunned when the bird suddenly shot straight up into the air, flying freely and peeping joyously. A successful rescue!

 Freed hummingbird trying it's wings

Other rescues have not ended so happily. Therefore, in memory of all the fallen creatures brought in by Allie the cat, I have decided to make a list: ( N.B.  I never put Allie's victims in my green bin, nor in the large curbside bin, which would be permissible). In keeping with a certain innate respect, I always lay them to rest on the earth. And sometimes, they actually rouse themselves and scurry away.

Allie at work

Allie's "Gifts"

  • 5 birds including a Steller's jay, a sparrow, some inconclusive feathers and the humming bird
  • 3 garter snakes all deposited near the door
  • countless mice, large and tiny, alive and dead
  • one rat  (dead, fortunately)
  • bugs and moths of all descriptions


Frederick the Literate

My favorite work by the well-known painter of Americana, Charles Wysocki (1928-2002), depicts an old library. The shelves where kitty is sleeping are crammed with books with titles that would interest a cat like Allie:

Delicious Field Mice I Have Known
Lusting For the Giant Rodent
The Feline Comedy
The Three Mousketeers
Field Guide to the Garbage Can
A Tale of Two Kitties
How to Catnap with a Smile
How to Smell a Rat


  1. I love that you try to save all those little creatures! Most people would wack them with a broom and throw them in the trash! Kudos to you!

    "In Native American culture, a hummingbird symbolizes timeless joy and the Nectar of Life. It's a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible and will teach you how to find the miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances."

    You must have good karma now!

  2. Allie the bold indeed. Such nice presents for you. But I'm glad you saved the hummingbird -- in your part of the US they are rufous hummingbirds -- with red heads.
    your loving sis

    1. a miracle, another party heard from--Merci beaucoup

  3. Lovely article, and gorgeous photos as always.