Monday, June 28, 2010

Feeling Squirrely

This morning, I noticed one of my cats sitting in her spot at the window, indulging in a morning bath. Not four feet away, perched on a fence rail, sat a squirrel grooming itself too, in full-view of the cat. At first, I thought the cat hadn't noticed her bathing partner. I anticipated the sound of plants crashing down from their stands when kitty happened to look up and see her favorite outdoor toy and charged along every window in the house in full-pusuit.
But, to my astonishment, she acted as if she didn't care about the squirrel when she saw it. She simply continued with her bath. The squirrel continued with his. Usually, the sqirrel teases poor kitty from its spot on the fence, seems to laugh as she smashes into the window, skids off the ledge and repeats till the fuzzy-tailed rodent strolls away. But not today. For a reason unknown to me, it appears a truce has been decided upon. Kitty glances up at the squirrel again and I know there is no mistake that she sees it. She leaps down from her spot, off to other important things like climbing the bookshelf. All the more reason to aquire more books, fill up the empty spaces for kitty's safety.
A few moments later, squirrel wanders off to pursue squirrel business. Probably to tease the neighbor's cat. Last winter, I watched two squirrels tag-team three cats from our dogwood tree. Surrounded by felines, the tree-rats took turns creeping down the trunk, daring a cat to chase them up. With no takers, one pushed the envelope and came down from the tree, ran a circle around one of the cats that finally took the bait and chased it up another tree. Kitty seemed stuck, unable to keep up, at a loss for what to do next. But, the squirrel knew. It brushed right past poor kitty, down to the ground, past the others and back up the dogwood with the other cats in pursuit. Both squirrels leaped onto the power-lines leading across the street, disappearing into the deep of a large pine. Game over. Rodents- 1, felines- 0.

I'm sure a lot of folks have squirrel stories. These critters are obviously smart and enjoy play and monkey mischief creating vast amounts of antics we can't help but observe. My favorite story was told to me by former utility co-workers many years ago. One summer afternoon, a crew truck was at a job, there to repair a leaking watermain. While waiting for equipment, one worker passed the time by chucking rocks at a squirrel sitting in a nearby tree. Finally, one rock connected, beaned the poor creature right in the head. It crumpled into the limb for a moment, sat back up, shook its head and when it regained its senses, eyeballed its attacker. It chirtled its little squirrel sound of anger (I'm sure it was an explitive) charged down the tree in a bee-line at the man who was now frantic to get inside the crew truck and close the door. A second later, the squirrel ran to the other side of the truck where the crew-boss sat laughing, his door open, a snarling ball of fury creeping closer. "Shut the door, shut the door", the worker yelled in terror. But the crew-boss couldn't stop laughing. In a panic, the worker jumped out from the truck, ran down the sidewalk, squirrel in hot-pursuit.
I called him Squirrley from that day on. Did I rub it in? Of course. He just didn't get that it was wrong to harm an animal for his own entertainment. But, I don't think he ever picked on a squirrel. again.


  1. loved the story about squirrely! we have more gophers than squirrels here, so i did not know this about squirrels.

    i'm still laughing....

  2. The squirrels here in New Albany like to get my dogs barking at them from the bottom of a tree or fence then pelt them with nuts and spiny seeds.

  3. I often think that somewhere along the way, squirrels and monkeys crossed genes. Their antics are so similar when it comes to teasing other animals.