Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Preparing a view for your indoor cats

Maggie the cat and Seamus the Boston terrier looking out the window
Since 2007, when this photo was taken, Maggie has been obsessed with birdwatching.
I know that the Republican lawmakers would like to convince us that global warming is a myth (Wasn't it Santorum who called it a "hoax" this week?), but it looks like spring has arrived in Portland about a month early. The crocus is up, the night jasmine is blooming and the morning walk resounds with the sounds of bird calls. Pretty sure global warming is NOT a hoax, and I'm also pretty sure that my cats aren't completely unhappy about that.

My two sighted indoor cats have a long-standing love affair with birds. They like to watch them through the closed glass of the windows, but they also love to sit in the screens when the windows are open and listen to the birds call. Sometimes they do the chatter of frustration, because they can't catch the things, but mainly they seem to simply enjoy watching things flutter by.

Last year, I set up a hummingbird feeder for the cats, close to the big windows by the back of the house. Hummingbirds move incredibly quickly, so I thought the cats would like to see them fly by, and they rarely come down to ground level, so they would be safe from the outdoor cats. (Just to be safe, we hung the feeder about 12 feet off the ground as well.) In any case, much as I changed the water, we never did see a bird visit.

Since I'm stubborn, I refused to give up on the project, and I planned to set up the feeder at the very first sign of spring. If the jasmine and lilac in the yard could lure them in, I thought, the feeder might make them stay. So, two weeks ago, I set up the feeder.

On Saturday, I was sitting by this big window, sipping some coffee, and I was rewarded with a glimpse of our very first visitor. The cats didn't see him, but I hope he'll come back and bring friends.

Later this summer, I hope to set up a butterfly feeder to give the cats an added show. Last year, we had hundreds of black-and-gold butterflies as big as my hand, and I hope to recreate that vision this summer.

Yep, it's cat television season. Time to get planting!