As I was coming home yesterday, a cat greeted me in the driveway. It started to walk with me toward the house, as if it planned to enter, and it occurred to me that this cat may have visited the previous owner of the house. I shooed it away and closed the gate.
A few minutes later, I let Detroit out, noticing too late that the cat was sitting on top of the gate, ready to re-enter the yard. Detroit took care of that, running toward the gate, barking like a banshee. The cat ran and Detroit entered her yard, sniffing for telltale signs of the cat’s visit.
A few hours later, I let Detroit out again to play in the yard, not thinking that the cat may have returned. But it had, and it was hiding under the hedge that runs along the fence between my next-door neighbor’s house and mine.
Detroit ran straight to it, and she and the cat engaged in battle. The cat had strategically situated itself against the trunk of a shrub so that Detroit could not reach it from behind. Undeterred, Detroit approached from the front.
Each time Detroit advanced, the cat took a swipe and Detroit momentarily retreated, only to regroup and jump back into the fray—a regular Rocky Balboa. She and the cat sparred for a while, neither willing to give up.
I was frantically trying to get Detroit to come out from under the bushes and get her into the house. I feared that the cat might get the better of Detroit—it was the bigger of the two and its gimpy hind leg told me this was not its first fight.
Unsuccessful at separating them, I finally cried to the heavens in exasperation, “I can’t take this!”
Just then, my neighbor came home, and I explained what was happening. “It’s probably here for the birds,” he speculated.
Ah, yes, the birds.
A robin was sitting in a nest under the eaves of my garage. I had noticed the nest when I moved in last summer, and had intended to take it down, but never got around to it. Before the snow had completely melted this spring, the robin had taken up residence; the cat was keeping vigil, waiting for baby birds to fly.
As I pondered the situation, I wondered if this cat had claimed this territory last year (and maybe for many prior years), unaware that this year, there was a new sheriff in town named Detroit who now claimed this yard as her own. Detroit intended to defend her property against all intruders and had been practicing on squirrels and birds. This was her first cat intruder. She was ready and undaunted.
I finally got Detroit into the house and am not letting her roam freely, just in case the cat is lurking in the hedge. I know that once the baby birds are gone, the cat will leave, and I will take down the nest—and Detroit can once again patrol her property.