We have a cat!
Hilda is a white cat with a few black splodges, we got her as a rescue and she was a semi-feral kitten, born on a farm where the number of cats had got out of control and lots of kittens needed re-homing!
We had a rat problem and were looking for a pair of outdoor cats – no way would our dogs ever let a cat in the house – and so Hilda & her brother Howard (who remembers the TV show?) – who sadly got run over by some stupid driver doing wheelies down our country lane, but that’s another story – came to join us. Our sole requirement for providing them with food and water was for them to keep the mice & rat population to a level that was not annoying, especially in our hay store and around the chicken coops!
Hilda does an exceptional job, the workshop where we store food, keep the hay and is also home to 3 of our 5 female pygmy goats is rodent free, she sleeps there, enjoying the goats company and the relative warmth of being snuggled up in the hay! She does have other sleep places, she enjoys the summer house on spring days where the sun warms the place up and she can be seen snuggled up in her basket – the same basket that she gets the occasional visit to the vet in – and other days she has a spot under a tree, or in the vegetable plot in one of the raised beds or indeed under the rose shrub where she looks out over the chickens and their feeder!
Yes, all of her spots are well chosen as being close to potential prey, and not just of the rodent variety, she does get the odd bird as well, especially the little sparrows that make an attempt to eat the chickens food!
Yes, she’s a hunter, she is part of the garden hierarchy, where she is one of those at the top of the chain – she’s not at the top, the fox and the badger rank higher than her, the fox helping itself to the odd chicken, but we have never had a sighting of badgers, which we are sure the smell of llamas keep them at bay. The dogs think they are higher up the chain than she is, but dogs are far more stupid than she and she knows where they go and at what times and very rarely crosses their path!
In fact she often sits up on a shed or tractor looking down at them, while noses to the ground with never a thought of looking up, they know she is around but do not know where – she does though and looks down on them with that superior look that cats do!
She is a hunter though, a lone hunter, but she is not feral now, always having time to roll in front of you looking for that tickle along her belly, always coming out to say hello to our holiday guests, but she is always on the look out for that next catch – she doesn’t hunt for fun, she hunts for food, we do feed her and she gets fed well but when she hunts, she hunts for food, she doesn’t kill and leave her prey, unlike the fox that can wantonly destroy whole flocks of chickens for just one meal, she will eat nearly all of what she kills.
That is her job and one of the benefits of the job is she gets to eat what she catches!
She is also loveable and as much a member of our family as the dogs, the chickens, the goats and the llamas!
Don’t give all cats a hard time, some work hard for a living & Hilda is one of those cats!