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Walking with the cats {4}

March 23, 2011

This is a text file that I created already in September, but it was so badly written that I shelved it. As I decided now to write more about my cats and less about the (increasingly awful) state of the world I cleared up and corrected the text and I hope, that it is acceptable in the present form. If not, skip it and ignore it.

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At 6 PM Princess Min Ki urged me to make our daily walk. I put on my boots and went out, but before opening the garden door to cross the street into the wood, I hurried around the house to the terrace. As usual, Rosy and Sumo aka Indi were resting there on the garden chairs. “Min Ki and I go for a walk, “I told them. “Maybe you are interested to come with us.”

As I arrived at our gathering place across the street, Princess Min Ki was nowhere to see, but she came after a few seconds. Wendy was also there on her usual playground. She has set claim to a small territory east of the rainwater hole, she spends lot of time there. Wendy’s flea/tick collar was loose and I tried to fix it but she jumped to the side when I approached her. She wanted to play but I’m not too good in playing catch and hide with a cat and therefore I refrained from chasing her.

Rosy appeared after another minute, and I wandered to the main path that is leading into the heart of the forest. The narrow footpath from the rainwater hole leads to a small crossing, where we can choose either to follow the main way to go in direction of the big clearing in the middle of the wood, or to divert right following a smaller path that leads to a tree nursery on the eastern border of the forest.

If we divert right, we only seldom go the whole way to the tree nursery, most times we take the first diversion left, following a narrow path that leads into a dark and arcane part of the forest. The trees are about 4 to 6 meters high and stand very tight, this areas is not yet thinned out. The path is completely covered with moss and walking there feels like walking on a persian carpet. The path reaches after some 60 meters an area with young trees and it becomes suddenly bright (provided that the sun is shining). The surface of the path is still moss, but partly overgrown with grass. If we continue from there the way ultimately leads back to the big clearing.

Princess Min Ki and Rosy followed me to the crossing, but at the crossing they went not one of the ways that I described, but into the wood and also into different directions. I had that so many times before and over the years I have developed various responses and (unfortunately not fail-save) solutions to this kind of situation. Today I choose to go undeterred in direction of the tree nursery and at the mentioned diversion to the left I waited and called my little friends. I also called Wendy a few times.

After two minutes or so Princess Min Ki and Rosy slowly came my way, Wendy didn’t show up, she for sure could still hear me, but obviously was not in the mood to participate in the walk. So we continued without her and entered this mysterious and arcane area of the forest. As we strolled along, progressing towards the brighter part, the cats suddenly looked disturbed. It was clear, that they were seeing something unusual. I looked around and to my surprise saw a roe dear standing between the trees. It was nearly invisible because we just were in the most dense and darkest spot.

The dear was completely quiet, standing like a statue. Normally the animals run away, when we are strolling through the wood and most times I see only their white backside, but this dear was standing still and was looking at us. It was slender and had long ears, and the ears were directed at me. “Hello”, I said. “Don’t be afraid. I’m not a hunter. But you should avoid humans. They are wicked and some of them have guns and want to kill you.” The dear didn’t follow my advice and kept still, looking at me. The cats were also completely still, they looked at the dear, and then at me, and then again at the dear. They were not quite sure, what was going on. After a few seconds I decided, that we should leave the dear alone and I walked on in direction of the clearing. As I looked back I saw the dear still standing on its place in the same posture, only the head had turned now and the eyes followed me. “Bye, bye,” I said. “Nice to meet you. Take care…. Please take care, you are such a beautiful creature!”

We continued and when we were some 20 meters from the point, where this path merges into another path which then ascends to the big clearing, I heard a cat meowing. It was the very distinct voice of Cindy, and it came from the left side of the path. Cindy is normally in an area north of the clearing with very young and small trees, and dense, impenetrable underwood, but the part that we had reached now is somehow similar, the underwood is also nearly impassable. Not impassable for Cindy, because she knows the forest well and she can go into areas where no other cat, and for sure no humans, can go. I hollered: “Cindy, come, I am here.” She meowed again a few times. It was obviously not so ease for her to crawl through the underwood towards our position.

I waited for a few seconds and suddenly Cindy emerged at a point, where I would have never expected any animal to come through. She jumped around me and rolled on the floor before me as she usual does, when we have found each other again and I kneeled down and stroke her and I whispered to her sweet little flatteries and compliments, as I always do.

I have to correct myself, “flattery” is not the right word, “adulation,” would be more appropriate, because I really mean it, when I tell my cats, how great they are. When I say something nice to them, it is not flattering, I mean what I say, and they deserve it!

After Princess Min Ki and Rosy also had welcomed Cindy, we went up to the clearing and crossed it on a path that is only used by me and the cats. To the right of this path is Cindy’s preferred hunting ground (I mentioned it already). This place is her kingdom and sometimes she cannot resist and simply disappears into the underwood, as we pass the area during our walks. Today she didn’t disappear and came with us. This path merges at the northern edge of the clearing into the main way, which is descending from there to a part of the wood with big old trees and dense underbrush, and is leading finally to a small lake.

But we were following the main way only for some 30 meters till a point, where there are a few log piles on the left, covered with plastic sheets. The cats like to jump onto the log piles and look around and play hide and seek. From this place one can go/stumble/crawl through an area of middle aged pine trees where the underwood is not too dense and we did that so often, that a new path has formed.

When the cats had played a few minutes on the log piles and were ready to continue, we followed the small self-created path to finally arrive in the north-west area near the small road that separates this property from another wood. Very old and big trees, mainly spruce, grow here, there is only little underwood, it is easily passable and yet secluded (we never met anybody in this particular area.)

This part of the forest is a long stripe, shaped like a crescent which is bending around the north-west and south-west of the wood and it leads ultimately into a little wilderness, a very messy and uncultivated part, that is situated in the south along the street where we live. When the cats reach this area, they know exactly that from here we usually go straight home. They are very disciplined then and follow me closely or sometimes go ahead. Though the remaining way till home is nearly half of the overall walking distance we usually need not more that 10 minutes to complete our round.

On the beginning of the wilderness part is a small area with newly planted trees and there are some puddles where the cats occasionally make a short rest to drink the rain water. This takes another two to four minutes, but never more.

We enter then a small path through the wilderness. The path was probably created by the children from the neighboring houses, who like to play there. Sometimes we meet the children and they are completely excited when they see me coming along with the cats. The cats usually disappear in the bushes when we meet other wanderers in the wood, but at this point they are so eager to go home, that they most times ignore the children and simply continue on their way. We go along this small path and reach the edge of the wood some 20 meters north of our house. The cats are carefully looking for cars and if there is nothing to see they jump out and we run the few meters on the road, I open the garden door, they rush in — we are back again.

We have made it safely home!

BTW: Sumo aka Indi waited in the wood across the street and was seemingly disappointed, that she missed the train. But she and Wendy ran through the garden door together with the other cats, so they at least projected the appearance, that they had joined us. I later went out to Sumo and spent some time with her. She jumped onto my lap and purred and when I stood up, looking around in the garden, she followed me and watched as I plugged and ate the strawberries.

I also checked the garden pond. It is a bit cold in the night now and that means, algae are less of a problem. This year we have some frogs and I’m always glad when I see them and know that they are okay. At first I didn’t hear or see any frogs but as I stood still for a minute there was suddenly something moving in the tangle of moss and grass that covers the banks. As I looked closely I discovered a tiny black frog. It was not more then three centimeters long. It must have emerged from a tadpole just now. I watched the tiny froglet hopping around. I hope the cats will not kill it. They already killed two frogs and when that happened I protected two sides of the pond with a 40 centimeter high chain-link fence. The wire fence doesn’t look pretty but it is a temporary measure to keep the cats away and the frogs safe.

One comment

  1. Some people say that they grieve more over the loss of an animal than the loss of a human and the loss of an animal is sometimes more difficult because there is a lack of understanding sympathy or empathy from family friends and co-workers. Even though a great percentage of people think of animals as family members it is often difficult to find the compassionate and loving support that is so readily available when a human dies. Some are afraid that others will ridicule them and think that they are stupid or crazy even though it is normal to be sad and to show compassion and grief over the loss of an animal.

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