My Little Chickadee and Sweetie

I was absorbed in my software development work on Tuesday when Sweetie Wildcat came by. She stops by my office dozens of times a day. She will stand on her hind legs and tap me with a front paw to get a scratch. If she doesn’t have any business somewhere else, she will jump in my lap for a nap or to rub against my chin. If she has obligations (like eating or chasing and being chased by Blue and Missy), she will move on.

On Tuesday, she quickly circled and left. It took a moment for me to recognize that this was atypical. I glanced down at the floor and saw something unusual. On closer inspection, I found small feathers. This is very unusual because our cats are not allowed outside. I hurried downstairs to investigate.

I caught up with Sweetie in the basement. She had something in her mouth. I yelled at her to stop and she ran into the back bedroom. She went under the bed when I tried to grab her. I got down on my knees and confirmed that she had a small bird in her mouth. I changed my tactics from trying to grab her to politely asking her to drop the bird. After a few seconds she decided to drop her prize for me and I reached carefully under the bed and enveloped the little bird with my hand.

When I stood up, I saw that she had caught a chickadee. Apparently It had managed to get through the eves of our porch and Sweetie had snagged it. (It must have been quite a chase because chickadees are quick — but so is Sweetie.) The chickadee still had some fight left; it immediately bit one of my fingers with its small beak. It was a bit wet from cat slobber and bleeding slightly from some scratches, but it still had some spunk left. That it was even alive is amazing given that it had been caught by a cat with very sharp claws and teeth, and who knows how long Sweetie had paraded around the house with her prize.

Ann was meeting with a furniture rep in our dining room. I stopped by to show them why I had run down the stairs after Sweetie a few moments earlier. Then I took the little chickadee outside and carefully put it on a branch in our holly bushes. It was unsteady for about 30 seconds and then it flew away.

I hope the chickadee recovered from its big adventure and lives to tell the story of escaping from the orange monster many times.

Sweetie was feral kitten when we got her (you can read her story at this link: Fast Food Kitten — Sweetie Wildcat Arrives). She is an amazing hunter, as the lizards that venture into our greenhouse have discovered. She would be a terrific barn cat.

April 3, 2007