The Bird Feeder

Evidence that humans evolve come from their ingenious inventions. Something as simple as a bird feeder taught me today about its purposefulness.

While visiting at my cousin’s place, I was stalked by an unassuming cat aptly named Kitty. Kitty could otherwise be mistaken for a gymnast of world class standards or perhaps a kung fu specialist with a  tenth degree black belt with her stealthy, calculated movements.

On the second day as I parked my borrowed car outside, I saw Kitty creep up to the window ledge with a penetrating stare as I locked the car and made my way inside. She quietly approached me with her figure eight walk and rubbed her body against my ankles, offering up a soft purrr. Family members cooed, “awww, she loves you.” I thought to myself: she had better because last night she squeezed me half way off my pillow and nestled herself into my shoulder.

I initially felt a warm, fleecy toque on top of my head and I realised it was Kitty, body slamming me from one end to another. I shooed her away and rolled over to sleep. Again, I was woken up by the soft ball of fur. With a lazy hand, I shoved her away and escaped for a shower. As I rummaged about and opened my bag I had the shock of my life as Kitty jumped out from inside. Surprise! How did she do that? I guess I had left the bag unzipped while taking my clothes and towel out. Suddenly, the expression came to life.

Kitty’s curious antics and my natural curiosity about the cat could but kill – ha, who knew?

Kitty is a domestic cat whose language consists of purring, hissing and insistent communicating. Purring could be for various reasons but Kitty’s purr for me was the indication she liked me.

Cats are not shy as one might suspect. They simply prefer to eat, or more specifically, hunt, alone. They are not pack or herd animals. They are uber independent.

So, what else can Kitty do? Kitty may be a domestic hunter and turns out to have a reputation for bringing home trophies of birds, mice and the occasional fish from my cousin’s aquarium. I look over at “bad Kitty,” shaking my head. She stares back momentarily then walks away unconcerned.

My cousin informed me about the stir she causes in the neighborhood. Whenever two billy cats turn up, instant fistacuffs. “Duh! Who wouldn’t,” I laughed. Kitty is rather impressive.

Bad Kitty, I discovered, is territorial. She’s got special glands to outline her perimeter,  sometimes with fecal waste for emphasis. “Oh boy, real bad Kitty,” I say, as I rub the top of her head to her upward pressured delight.

The good thing about bad Kitty is her penchant for cleanliness. Her incessant licking and grooming with her porcupine tongue possesses a keratin component for the perfect coiffe

“So, you mean, if Kitty continues her regular treatment on my head, I’ll have awesome hair?” I laughed.

“More like you’ll get a fur ball on your head,” I was told while everyone laughed at the expense of my ignorance of what a fur ball could be.

Bad Kitty turns out to be mighty talented. She jumps, hunts, eats, cleans, plays, purrs and then some. Kitty sounds so wonderful suddenly.

“Ok, is there anything Kitty can NOT do?”

Well, she cannot reach the specially designed bird feeder.

I was directed outside the window to the tree in the front yard, “See the bird feeder? Kitty cannot climb it.

Why? I wondered.

How can this simplest of human inventions outsmart this highly complex, sensitive creature of nature.

“What’s so unique about this bird feeder?” I inquired.

Its pole is referred to as the shepherd’s envy pole and the bird feeder hangs off it. The way the shepherd’s pole is designed makes it impossible for Kitty to climb it nor can she eat the seeds or reach the birds.

All the tales of misadventure led Kitty to position herself patiently at the foot of the bird feeder. After twenty minutes or so, she finally became animated with a leap of faith only to land on the ground with a stunned expression. As Kitty attempted to claw her way up the shepherd’s pole, it bent back like an archer’s bow and rebounded, stiffly slingshooting Kitty off balance with no chance of recovery, or even a paw at the feeder. Amazingly, I couldn’t help but notice how each time Kitty would do this she would land on all fours with the grace of that gymnast.

If Kitty is God’s creation and He indeed the Shepherd, who gave unto Man the invention of a staff to save his birds, then curious are His ways of care and protection. All you have to do is “believe” and eventually it will all make sense.

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