Unexpected Entertainment

cat watch cat

The neighbors are all in a kerfluffle. There are only two left but earlier there were at least seven of them. Apparently a baby squirrel fell out of a nest in a tree on my property and one of the neighborhood roaming cats is very interested in this. A guy even stopped his car to come help shoo the cat from the squirrel.

They caught the squirrel and used a tiny step ladder to put it as high in the tree as possible – I was going to offer a larger ladder, but I think he was in a bit of a hurry to get that squirrel out of his gloved hand and into the crook of the tree (no way he’d reach the nest – that’s waaaaay up there). They’ve chased the cat away three or four times. But the cat came back. They threw the cat over my fence (into my back yard). But the cat came back. The cat wants to terrorize the squirrel. That’s just what cats do. The photo above shows one of my cats watching that cat watching the squirrels (there are now two of them in the crook of the tree; not sure where #2 came from, I didn’t see it coming).

It amazes me, in this busy world, that my neighbors (and me by watching them) have now spent at least an hour trying to prevent nature from being nature (and in my case, morbid curiosity to see whether that cat will get the squirrel – I would say eat it except that I know cat predators prefer to play with their food rather than actually eat it).

Funny thing about people: they are very agitated about this cat and squirrel situation in a way they wouldn’t be about say, a full grown squirrel getting run over by a car. Personally, I think there would be great humor in a scenario in which once they get the cat safely away, one of the large predatory birds that lives nearby (we have a family of Mississippi Kite falcons here) swooped down and caught the tiny squirrel and carried it off.

Perhaps it should restore my faith in humanity that these people are determined to protect the small and weak from the predator. Yet I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t just time for baby squirrels to emerge and learn to navigate the world beyond the nest, including avoiding predators. After all, it appears to me that the other little squirrel with it now is either also fallen out of the nest or else trying to push this one out. They are both about half way down the trunk of the tree now, determined not to go up to the nest but down to the ground (and the waiting cat, who is still being actively shooed by the neighbors, to no avail).

Should I feel guilty for not helping them? Perhaps. But it appears to be attempting to divert the natural order of things. Honestly, I am torn about this because predators need to eat too. We need all the creatures in their cycles of life. Yet I too desire to protect the small and weak from the predators. This feels different somehow in a cycle of life sort of way. Nature is a dangerous place for most creatures. Is this what makes us human: Our desire to cultivate civilization, a place in which we thwart the “survival of the fittest” by protecting all, even those who are small and weak? Goodness, I hope so.

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