Friday, December 15, 2006

Feed the #&$%! birds, tuppence a bag.

I'm no pet worshipper. I could go on for hours about how the book of Revelation clearly foretells that in the days when otherwise intelligent adults start dressing up their dogs and taking them trick-or-treating, the End is near at hand. In all seriousness, it gives me the willies.

That is why I'm a bit sheepish about my recent escapades. I live in a small apartment on the third floor and my cat is home alone all day while I'm at work. For most cats, no big deal -- two hours preening, six hours napping, and my, my -- wherever did the time go? My cat, however, gets very bored, and by the time I get home all she wants is to be chased. I feel sorry for her, having her psycho spirit broken by the long hours of nothingness. During the summer I crack the window open so she can see and hear the birds in the trees outside, and that keeps her fairly happy. But in the winter the windows are closed and the birds make themselves scarce. All is stillness and kitty anguish. So I decided I was going to find a way to lure birds to the naked tree outside my bedroom window.

Problem #1: Window three stories up, how to get birdseed up that high? Research telescoping poles -- think could use to raise birdfeeder to high branch. Dead end. Telescoping poles cost-prohibitive. Alternate plan: fling rope over desired branch, tie bird feeder to rope, hoist up, anchoring ends of rope to base of tree. Purchase clothesline, attach keys to one end, throw keys over and over and over and over in sissy-girl fashion until they clear desired branch, pulling clothesline with them. Highly entertaining show for neighbors.

Problem #2: What sort of feed to use? Birdfeeder with loose seed awkward to raise through branches. Would have to be refilled often -- undesireable, given convoluted rope system. Decide on suet cake: "high in nutrients," lasts longer, won't spill on way up. Attach suet cake to rope and hoist up. Watch for birds.

Problem #3: Two weeks later, no birds. Suet cake still pristine, cat still bored. I am miffed. Plot to trick birds into eating their birdy vegetables with some birdy candy: birdseed peanut-buttered onto pinecones. Return to store. Purchase loose birdseed. Take walk, collect pinecones. Assemble ooey-gooey pinecone treats for ungrateful birds. Untie clothesline, lower suet cake, attach tempting pinecones to suet. Hoist ridiculous-looking rig back up in tree. Hope no one watching, wondering if am inept terrorist planting bomb. Watch for birds.

Problem #4: Birds briefly condescend to nibble at pinecones, but ultimately too clever. Realize suet nastier than Brussels sprouts, will not touch. Pinecones now pecked clean = no more birds. Kitty is sad again. Marie is miffed again. Marie fantasizes about shooting herself fat little warbler, bringing it inside half dead, letting cat finish it off. Marie wants to punish all of Bird-dom for mocking her toil from their high perches. Marie is at the end of her rope (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk).

So if any of you have an in with the birds or an instinct when it comes to luring woodland critters to your windowsill (say, if your singing voice resembles that of Snow White), please let me in on the secret. Kitty and I would be ever so grateful.


sophie said...

You need to get kitty a pet hamster.

Belladonna said...

This was hillarious!

On the hamster comment - I actually did know someone who used to turn their cat lose on a hamster in one of those clear acrylic exercise balls. The cat couln't actually GET the hamster, but had a good time terrorizing it!

Hamster developed serious hypertension. Became psychotic. Not to be recommended.

wynne said...

Umm...have you ever considered owning another cat?

Rachel said...

Whoa, you have your own blog now! And I can comment! Once day I noticed your new picture and clicked on it... and behold. She blogs.

Does your cat like to watch t.v.?

These are the reasons why I really don't ever want a pet. I can't handle being so responsible for cat's happiness and well-being.

Marie said...

I hope I have enough goodness in me to resist the hamster-in-a-ball idea. Cruel, but a hilarious mental image. As for a new cat, there are several reasons I can't/won't: 1) landlord was making concession for one cat, said *absolutely no more* 2) when during my childhood we had a two-cat household, all was fury and flying fur (and occasionally even marking with urine -- yick! and this was a female cat!) -- ultimately our indignant first cat adopted our next door neighbors who gave her all the love she knew she deserved, and when she died, buried her under a special engraved kitty marker 3) a second cat would make me an official Cat Lady -- currently I consider myself just a Cat Dabbler ("I can quit anytime -- I swear!")

The TV idea is actually a good one, and if the birds fail me much longer I'm going that route. A few years ago I had a friend with a kitty DVD that played scenes of hamsters scurrying and birds hopping around, and her cats would sit riveted for hours, staring. I would hope that my cat would be too intelligent to be fooled by fake critters, but she's still trying to figure out her image in the mirror, so that probably means she ain't the brightest bulb in the box.

Carvel said...

Hi, Marie,
Last night Carole read much or all of your blog, but just as she started to post a comment, she was called away, probably by Alexana. I declare, that girl is more demanding than Mr. Vicious.
Tonight after she had been put to bed and had presumably gone to sleep, we heard her crying as if she'd fallen onto the floor. But soon after CBT picked her up, A. began making a new sound which was so unusual that I had to go look at her facial expression, and I do believe I saw her smiling, as if she was (consciously) mischievously attracting attention with that new sound. She seems to be learning the ways of the world too quickly.
Different subject: Wynne's suggestion about you getting another cat(which I believe you said wouldn't be accepted by Cat)makes me wonder what other thing you could get (inside your apt.) which would entertain Cat, but which would be both low-cost and low-maintenance. Have you thoroughly racked you brain about this?
I should go read my "Learn to Meditate" book, and practice for a few min. before bedtime.
I'm enjoying "The Truth About Medium."
I just realized: This should have been sent as an Email, not a blog comment. Ah, well. Love, Dad

sharonsfriendjen said...

Perhaps those battery operated toys. Hit the on, button and let it go. That is the only thing I can think of. I think I know a certain someone who can do a very impressive Snow White impersonation . . . . What would it take to get her to quit her job and entertain kitty? We'll have to think about that one.

Belladonna said...

My Basset Hound, Morgan, LOVES watching TV. Her favorite show is the movie "The Return of the King." Seriously. If I pop in that DVD she will be positively transfixed. She does not, however like to watch most sports. I'm not sure why.

I've never checked out those Pet Sitter Videos Sorta like Baby Einstein for animals?

Marie said...

Thanks for the link to the DVD -- I didn't know where to start looking. It's worth trying, though I'm not confident that it will work. Unlike Morgan, my cat isn't too fond of TV in general. She usually leaves the room when I turn on anything noisy. The only thing the cat has ever shown any interest in on TV is harmonica music. I kid you not -- we were watching New York Doll, and when Arthur Kane pulls out his harmonica and starts playing "Love One Another" the cat trots up to the TV, puts her front paws on the TV screen, and stays transfixed until he stops playing the song. It was so cute -- we kept running the DVD back to see her reaction again and again. My sister bought a harmonica soon thereafter, thinking we could keep the cat interested in life by playing a round of "Edelweiss" for her now and then. But within a day or so she was sick of harmonica music and didn't even twitch when we tried to make her react to it.

I think I just have a fickle cat. If she could talk, she'd probably request that I adopt her out to a new owner -- she'd say that she's got me all figured out and the magic is gone.

Belladonna said...

Let me know if those pet sitter videos work out for you. The sad thing is I HAD that idea for making videos like that only to find out they already existed. DRATS! I was so sure I could make a bundle.

Wait! Hey, here's a thought -

You know those books you can buy for kids that are personalized to have the child's name as one of the characters?

How about creating PET VIDEOS with the voice over talking directly to a specific animal by name?

Rediculous, yes, but no more so than fuzzy sweaters for poodles.