Something a little bit surprising happened last weekend that I briefly twittered about, but never got around to writing down. Kim was finishing up some gardening in the front yard and Norman the cat was jumping through the grass, digging in the dirt, and just being an energetic outdoor kitty.
After I got my stuff put away and cleaned up a bit, I took a yowling Ebenezer out on his leash. By this point, Norman was climbing around in the hedge that separates our house from the little apartments next door. Ebenezer was curious about the whole thing and was half in the hedge and half in the driveway. All the while, this sparrow was behaving in what seemed like an odd way. It would land on the driveway, chirp a bit, fly up to a nearby tree, then chirp some more, then land back down on the ground. I later realized it was trying to distract the cats and get them to chase him away from the bushes. There was a sudden very heavy bush-shaking *rustle*rustle*rustle* from the hedge, then Norman shot out and ran to the backyard. Ebenezer and I chased him and found he had an adolescent sparrow in his mouth. He was chewing on it, flipped it in the air a few times (once almost hit me in the face), and doing general cat-having-fun-but-in-torturous-ways sorts of things. Everything said and done, he ate all of it except for one leg and part of a wing. He continued to prowl around that bush.
Later in the same evening, as I was harvesting mint in the side yard, he came zooming by with another bird in his mouth. It then occurred to me that birdseed is cheaper than cat food, and if I could get past the moral issues of having lots of low-hanging bird feeders, Norman could catch all of his own food. This thought was dashed at feeding time when he yowled for food as if he was starving and hadn’t just immediately eaten two birds. (At least, two that I’d personally witnessed — who knows how many more that I did not see?)
Part of me feels bad for the family of birds that got terrorized by Norman, but really — those birds should know to put their nest up in a high tree, not a bush with branches close enough together for a young cat to climb.