Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Cat in Sheep's Clothing

Here's the culprit. Doesn't she look innocent?

Oh yes, she can look so sweet and sleepy-eyed and...domesticated. Even cuddly.

But don't let that fool you.

Anything that flutters, breathes, or wiggles, Maisy considers fair game.

Just ask the neighborhood mockingbirds,
who spent the last two weeks dive bombing her, knowing what lay in store for their nesting babies. (I think the war is over, for this season.)

Ask the hummers who love sipping my Lilies of the Nile. I can watch Maisy out of my front window as I write and occasionally, I'll see a calico blur fly by the window pane. I rush outside to see if I can rescue whatever now sits inside her jaws, because the truth is, she has no will to kill these things she catches. She just wants to play. So she rarely hurts on first swipe.She loves the chase. This Spring, I found a series of hummingbirds inert on my sidewalk after a long game, but one day, I caught her in the act!

She instantly dropped the poor little creature when I yelled at her and looked at me, like, "What? This is what cats are supposed to do."

But she took my theft diplomatically.

The hummingbird wasn't hurt. It was dazed by cat breath. It blinked up at me and I hoped it was going to make it. I took the little thing in my hand and warmed it for a long time. I sat really still and cooed to it. Told it everything would be okay. Soon, it wiggled its toes and I opened my palm up and it helicoptered up in the air and buzzed around my den, flying into walls.

So I picked it up again and held it some more. It hopped on my finger and stayed there, blinking up at me. Eventually, I decided I should let it go. It's little feet were curled around my index finger as I walked outside with it to Hummingbird Nirvana--The Sacred Bottle Brush Tree.

Then, the weirdest thing ever happened.

It would not fly away. It sat there, as if to say, "No way. Uh-uh. Ain't gonna happen. There's a C-A-T out here. Take me back inside!"

So I did. By then it was almost dark. I lifted the little bird up to some wires hanging across my rafters in my den and it seemed perfectly content to stay there. So I hung a bottle brush blossom beside it (in case it got hungry) and we let it have a sleepover.

In the morning, it climbed back on my finger (I know, right?) like we were old friends and let me take it back outside. After a moment, it blinked up at me then buzzed to a nearby flower to take a sip. Then it disappeared into the trees.


I have to say, having that little bird trust me not to hurt it after what it had been through was seriously a spiritual experience. It was a moment. Sometimes I hold my finger out to hummers in my yard, hoping it will return and remember me. But so far, no one has taken me up on the offer. But I'm okay with that. And Maisy and I are still friends.


Holly said...

Ohhhhh....this one made me cry. What a wonderful thing! My hummers just come for the nectar and don't stay around much....but to have such a warming experience? Ohhhhhh!

Snap said...

YES! YES! YES! Loved this post. Maisy is just being Maisy. And, the beautiful little hummingbird KNEW where safety and shelter was/is. I bet you get another visit one day ... just a flyby to say Hi!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

There's nothing more affirming than to receive the trust of a wild creature. Bet you felt just like St. Francis of Assisi! Perhaps Maisy should wear a bell or other noisemaker to warn birds of her approach so she can look but not touch!

A Palmer said...

Sweet,sweet little hummers. This is one of my favorite stories of yours. I know you've told it before, but illustrated was even better. Very cool, Barb. Very cool. BTW, I was able to get to your site from one of your posts, but now you have disappeared off my follower list. Probably just need to re-up. : )
Hugs, Anne

Sarah said...

Oh Barb..I love this story!! You told it so well!! How wonderful to have the critters trust you hon!!I hope it comes back to visit some day! And Maisy..yup is being a cat! She really is beautiful!! Wonderful post!! Love, Sarah

Sarah said...

Left you an award on my blog hon...

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

OMG...what an absolutely amazing story! I can maybe fathom a sparrow or finch standing on your finger, but a hummingbird? Do you realize how blessed you are to have had this experience and understand why you say it was a spiritual one. I have goosebumps from reading is sooo great!

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

What an amazing experience! That must have been a special day, for the both of you.