We are deep into spring here in Northern California, and the silver maple in our back yard is covered with its "fruit" - those cool seeds that look like little helicopters when they fall to the ground. Squirrels love them, and Boyfriend and I can spend hours watching the little buggers climb out to the ends of the most perilously thin twigs to get a mouthful.
Of course, we aren't the only ones who love watching squirrels. Harlequin, our backyard kitty, thinks they look absolutely delish. So it was really no surprise when we looked out the window this morning and saw two squirrels munching away in the tree - and Harlequin crouched on a limb trying to figure out how to get a bite herself.
Never has it been easier to read animals' minds.
Harlequin: Five feet away. Five feet away. How dare you! I have slain finches at greater distances. I have plucked hummingbirds out of thin air. I have pulled lizards from deep inside wood piles. I am going to eat you, you arrogant fuzzy bastard.
Read more...Squirrel 1 to Squirrel 2: Hey, check this out! That stupid cat thinks she can compete with us on our own tree. Ha!
Squirrel 2 to Squirrel 1: Awesome. Watch this...
Squirrel 2 jumps onto a tiny branch right over Harlequin's head, climbs out to the end and starts munching seeds, dropping the shells so that they float right past Harlequin's face on their way down to the lawn.
Harlequin: I am a coiled spring, you foolish rodent. I will leap and you will be dead before you finish chewing...
(To herself:) Oh shit. I am in a tree. Ten feet off the ground. This requires some careful planning.
Harlequin shifts into a more favorable leaping position.
Squirrel 2: Oh, I don't think so! (Boing.)
The squirrel leaps nimbly to another tiny branch overhead. Harlequin is now on the absolute worst limb for the pounce.
Harlequin: Mr. Squirrel, I am a CAT. I am nimble. Watch me as I simply slink down this limb and walk right up the limb that leads straight to you. See? Ha!
Squirrel 1 and 2 continue munching contentedly, clinging to the ends of tiny twigs that sway under their fat little yummy bodies.
Squirrel 1: Oh, Ms. Cat, are you still here? Funny, so am I (munch munch munch). Isn't it cool how I can walk out to the end of this twig and bouncy bouncy bounce while enjoying these delicious seeds?
If you weren't such a COW, I'd invite you up here to join me, but I do believe you'd break this twig and fall to the ground in a horrible mangled heap.
Harlequin: Oh, I do not need an invitation, my minsinformed little bucktoothed friend. I am a CAT. I eat what I want, when I want. And I am going to eat YOU.
She crouches, ready to spring. The squirrel leaps over her head to yet another seed-laden twig.
Harlequin (to herself): Drat!
I must face the truth: There is no way I can catch him. How can I possibly get out of this with dignity?
Harlequin glances toward the big clear sliding thing that the humans use to move between the house and the yard.
Harlequin: There they are! But, oh, the shame! The humiliation. Me, just feet from a delicious meal, impotent and powerless. Oh.... HELP! HELP!
Inside the house, the female speaks.
NorCal Cazadora: Man, she's gonna get hurt if she tries to pounce. I'm gonna help her out.
The female opens the door and walks onto the deck.
Harlequin: Oh look, stupid squirrels, my human wants me! Sorry, you insolent flea-ridden varmints, duty calls. I have to go. Bye-bye.
Harlequin leaps out of the tree and bounds joyfully into the open arms of the female, who scoops her up and takes her into the house.
Squirrel 1 to Squirrel 2: Oh thank God!
I was so full I didn't think I could eat another bite. Let's get the hell out of here.
Squirrel 1 leaps to a fence and starts running toward the back of the yard. Squirrel 2 is right behind him.
Inside the house, Harlequin watches anxiously.
Harlequin: Let me go! Let me go!
The female opens the door and lets Harlequin out. She bounds down the fenceline, just ten feet behind the speeding squirrels.
Harlequin to the disappearing squirrels: Boy are you lucky my human needed me. Do not EVER come back to my tree!
She turns back toward the humans.
Harlequin: Hey, I don't suppose you have any food?