Saturday, June 02, 2007


Wasting time earlier today, I heard a sound that practically yanked me out of my chair. It was the wailing scream of a cat either fighting or being attacked.

I jumped around the table to our front window, the sound seeming to come from as close as our front porch. I didn't see a cat at first, and in fact didn't see a cat till I went outside moments later, drawn by what I did see.

About fifteen feet from the front of our house is one of the world's saddest and ugliest trees. It doesn't grow anything pretty anymore, scarce patches of leaves like a thin green fog dissipating and lots of tiny sticks that are constantly peppering the lawn beneath the tree. One of these days I will write a rant about tree topping, but this isn't the day for that.

As I jumped and looked out the window, not seeing any cats, a motion in the tree caught my eye. I knew from the shape of the bird that it was most likely a hawk, and a bit of searching leads me to believe that it was a juvenile red tailed hawk. I only got about two seconds to see him as he quickly took off again, leaving our tree.

I alerted the family on my way toward the door, wondering at once how likely we'd be to see the hawk again and how likely our noise would be the very thing to run him off.

We proceeded around to the front of the house. As we came around the corner, fairly high up in our poor tree was a beautiful cat, white, brown and black, like three large spots combining to color one cat. Across the street, passing quickly and perhaps a little guiltily through the neighbor's yard was another cat. As it peaked back at us, we could see that it was a Siamese. Not that that matters, but we all know about those Siamese cats.

The cat in the tree was obviously frightened. It ignored our entreaties to come down while keeping a wary eye on us. We knew that our presence wasn't helping her feel safe in descending the tree, and we hadn't arrived in time to see any hawks, not that it had been likely.

Stepping back outside moments later for a smoke, I went around to check the tree. The cat was at that moment finally taking the last leap down to freedom. I heard a neighbor call from a couple yards over, asking about the cat. He'd heard the same noises I had. He listened to my story and told me that he was aware of the Siamese as this cat terrorizes both his cats on a regular basis. The hawk of course was an added twist.

It's an unsolvable mystery, a scream, a hawk flashes past, one cat is up a tree while the other slinks away. I can piece together the same stories you do. I can wonder how a cat would fare against hawk claws versus how a hawk would fare against cat claws. Is this going to be the summer of wildlife stories? I'm up to two, and I haven't even mentioned the lightning bugs yet.

No comments: