Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Deerstalkers

Today, as DH and I moved looms around in the studio, we noticed a small group of deer on the hill behind the house - a buck and a couple of does.

Then we saw Tim (the larger, older, and more experienced hunter of our two cats) lurking on the hillside below the deer, not far from one of the does. Tim is the brown lump with ears in the lower right corner of the picture. (Click the image to see the full-sized version.)

The doe clearly knew he was there, but she was curious and began to approach him.

Tim stood his ground as she got closer, although he hunched down and his ears went back.

Then I realized that Gracie (the younger of the two cats, much less experienced hunter, and generally more cautious) had crept up the hill, watching this drama unfold. I wondered how close Tim would let the doe get before he acted, and wondered just what he'd decide to do.

At that point, several things happened simultaneously:

The camera batteries chirped and died.

The doe crossed the line of Tim's comfort zone.

Tim hissed at her and ran back down the hill, colliding with Gracie on the way.

The doe jumped backwards, and ran up the hill.

Gracie hissed, arched her back, raised the fur all along her spine, and fluffed her tail out, just as if it had been her adventure, not Tim's.

After all this excitement, the cats are both sleeping the sleep of the exhausted, overstimulated, and disappointed hunter. Maybe next time...


Sue said...

I have a friend whose cat chases deer out of the yard. I don't know if the deer are actually afraid, or if the cat just pesters them so much that they leave to get away from her.

Karen said...

Our cat, Tilly, had a similar encounter. She and the doe almost touched noses but it was too much for both of them. They both jumped into the air, a big jump relative to their respective sizes, and then acted as if nothing had happened. I just WISH the cats would keep the deer out of the yard and away from my roses!

Sandra Rude said...

Ah, yes, roses! Deer candy. There are lots of plants I no longer bother to put in the ground. If the deer can't stay away from them, it's not worth it. We've tried electric fencing, tall fencing, etc. If what's on the other side of the fence is too alluring, the deer will find a way to surmount the obstacle.

Geodyne said...

This had me collapsing with laughter!

I grew up in Australia and used to have a cat that liked to stalk the emus. They're big birds, right? They must be prey! He'd stalk through the long grass taller than him with his tail straight up, so you could follow his path. Like your cat, he wasn't so courageous: if an emu turned around, he'd turn tail and run.

One day he came home with a nick out of one ear. We could guess how he'd got that!

Ruth said...

Your deer might want to keep in mind the fate of this poor deer, a wild one in Washington, DC's central park (Rock Creek Park), who jumped a fence into a lion cage at the National Zoo, right in front of hundreds of zoo visitors in the middle of a weekend afternoon. This YouTube video isn't gory--just kinda sad: