I was waiting for email to download this morning when I witnessed two cats and three squirrels playing “cat and tree-rat”.
Watching the activity that spread across the gardens of four or five houses I began to see that although the cats were very good at “seizing” the symbolic and literal high ground such as garage roofs, first-floor window ledges and critical fence junctions their attempts to interdict the insurgent terror-rodents were almost completely ineffectual.
The squirrels were busy with the life-and-death task of collecting and storing food. Occasionally one would stray near enough to one of the feline sentinels for the cat to take notice and switch to stalking mode. Standard squirrel response was “run away”, usually followed by the cat for a couple of yards until the predator gave up – these cats are all well-fed domestic pets and pursuit was at best half-hearted.
There was much more vigorous action when one squirrel strayed into the territory of another – high-speed, high level chases until the intruder was seen off.
All of this time there was no sign of the species that considers itself the “real” owners of these bits of territory!