I've always had an uneasy relationship with the cats in my neighborhood. In part because I an not instinctively drawn to cats like I am to large dogs, horses, birds, and many other animals. For that matter, birds have grown on me through the years. I had to get over the horror movie called Birds, from my youth, but as an adult wild birds have been a great source of pleasure for me. Many birds find shelter and food in my garden and they sing to me each morning and sometimes later in the day. I've know a few cats on an individual basis that I liked but that's rare. Part of the problem is cats will sense my reservation and choose my lap to jump into. I need more time to warm up to them. As far as neighborhood cats go, the big issue is that I don't want them to come to my garden to hunt the birds. Of late, there's only one cat which frequents my garden and it turns out that his name is Oscar. New city restrictions have made many people keep their cats close to home although not everyone abides by those restrictions. Oscar doesn't appear to come to my place to hunt but rather is spotted taking a nap on my deck ledge or the edge of my garden. I've even opened the door to spot Oscar taking a nap on my side door stoop. What finally melted my heart once and for all is one of my neighbor's grandchildren. He spends afternoons with his grandmother after school lets out, until his parents pick him up after work. One day he knocked on my door and asked if I knew where Oscar was. The child explained that he was Mrs. So and So's grandson and that Oscar belonged to the so and so's and was his best friend.After I learned that Oscar was Boy's best friend, my attitude once and for all shifted from an uneasy truce, as long as I didn't spot Oscar hunting, to being genuinely fond of his predatory self.Hopefully Oscar will continue napping in my garden and not engage in perfectly natural behavior but behavior which will put our relationship to the test. I don't want to find any signs of bird hunting. Sort of unfair since I realize that bird hunting is what a cat is programmed to do. Fortunately, the birds are pretty savvy and they have lots of trees to fly up to for safety. I would be very surprised to see Oscar chasing anything up a tree. Hopefully his hunting, if the urge takes him, will focus on the mice which I know are scampering around looking for their share of food in the garden. Mice can be cute as long as they stay out of the house but I am not as protective of them as I am of the birds. Blatantly unfair of me to put mice pretty low on my list of favored animals but I've had a few come inside and that freaks me out. In terms of Oscar, any friend of the kind hearted child is a friend of mine. What gets to me about Oscar are the eyes. I can see how he would be a great friend to a child. Theoretically, cats aren't supposed to be wandering around the neighborhood but I've never seen any picked up by animal control. I do have one neighbor who takes her cat out on a leash which always looks odd to me but I guess that's one way to keep your cat from running loose.It's a shame in a way that it's necessary for household animals to be kept in their own yards and houses. I understand the reasons why it's necessary but I remember how half the neighborhood claimed our family dog when I was a child. She would make her rounds and visit her friends and come home.They had started having leash laws but back then they weren't enforced. As long as animals didn't cause problems they were pretty much left alone to visit their friends. Not any more although, so far, Oscar can visit Boy without getting tossed in the cat slammer. The dogs are the main ones who have to stick close to home. I personally would never complain about cats continuing to have their unofficial freedom in my neighborhood. For that matter I don't mind dogs dropping by at all but since they are rarely out and about off a leash without being lost, a stray dog prompts looking for its human.
In addition to being Boy's friend, there are a couple of other trait's in Oscar's favor. He climbs up on my garden boxes and rests on the edge but I've never seen any signs of him inside the box. That's a big plus, especially now that I have tender seedlings growing in some of my boxes. For that matter, he tends to sit on the edge of the swing set garden boxes which aren't planted yet. I haven't spotted him resting on the square ones, in front on my greenhouse, which are planted. The other plus is when he's awake, which is rare because as I mentioned he seems to come to my place to nap, he seems to mostly be looking down. He will glance up at me but I mean in terms of watching for prey. I get the impression he is primarily scouting the ground and the wild birds have enough sense not to eat food underneath where Oscar is resting. And there you have it, another rambling post in the low key life of Carver.