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Monday, October 5, 2015

The responsibilities of an indoor cat

This is Purrl, our last indoor/outdoor cat.
He was fourteen years old when he departed last January.
Purrl was the last of a long line of indoor/outdoor cats who took the business of rodent eradication (and the occasional bird) seriously.



This is Toby.
He takes his job of surveillance equally seriously.
Like a general with no army.


Toby is not so sure about outdoors.
He two excursions between the legs of a grocery laden two footer coming in the door have been stopped short by "Where do you think you're going, young man! Get back in the house!"
And Toby obediently trotted back up the ramp and into the house.


Even the mice he has waylaid have not inflamed his desire for more from the outdoors, which they smell of. 
Toby simply comes into the living room with the butt and tail of the evidence protruding from his lips,
and a completely unharmed but greatly startled mouse is deposited on the railing when Toby is carried out and instructed, "Drop it."


Toby sits in the window watching my handicapped bird at the feeder.
The bird is not a sparrow, but a house finch. Watching it up close (and it lets me within a couple feet of it), the bird's wings are deformed, the cause of the hovercraft style of locomotion.

Toby keeps track of the finch through the studio window.
And the chipmunks, squirrels, and doves on the ground, and the incessent squadrons of birds at the feeders.


And then there are the chipmunks. 
Without Purrl, we have companies of chipmunks in residence.
They completely ignore Toby,


who, in retalliation, ignores them as completely.
Toby deigns to overtly betray his presence to the little intruders.


See how perfectly they understand each other!
The appearance of the "Neighborhood Cat" however,
and the chipmunk disappears 
and Toby flys from window to window to let Neighborhood Cat know this house is completely defended by the indoor cat.


32 comments:

  1. I live in the city so my cats have always been indoor cats. As well they have been spayed or neutered. I love your photos, Joanne! :)

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  2. A hardworking cat indeed. Can't believe he drops the mouse. We don't get mice, but lately Miss Kitty has cornered a couple of little green frogs in the house, she had rolled one in dust mice and was preparing for feast when Mac rescued it.

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  3. Our cats, although they all come from outdoor mothers, have never set foot outside... except for Rose who showed up in our rose garden in 2001 (when she was about 7). She was inside/outside for a while... then when she was attacked by a dog and suffered a broken hind leg, she became totally inside. But all our cats seem content to observe - like Toby from an inside window. But heaven help any tiny critter that makes it inside (like lizards), they will definitely be *played with* to their ultimate demise... but never eaten (ugh!)

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  4. Toby would do well with Oscar who drops mice on command,but is known to kiss raccoons through the window. All our cats have jobs...Oscar's job is to keep giraffes away,Zoe is to yell if she spots a kangaroo in the forest. They all take their work seriously,and are very good at their jobs as we've not seen a giraffe,kangaroo,elephant ,shark,dalek.....
    Jane x

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  5. Hari OM
    Each in their place... mostly! A delightful insight to the non-human residents... YAM xx

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  6. Just don't let him get the chip monks they are my favs.

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  7. Our Connelly is a serial killer; most recently he left me a gift of a largish rat. Yes, he is an outdoor cat.

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  8. I tried to keep Angel an indoor cat, but he wasn't happy about it, he'd spent the first four months of his life outdoors in an open shed. I finally gave up several months ago, now we're both happier. He's not a stalker/killer though, when birds appear he just watches them or runs back inside.

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  9. What a delightful piece, Joanne!

    I too have had the surprising experience of a mouse let out of a mouthful of very sharp cat teeth being none the worse for wear. Wow, some dangling participles in that sentence, but I think you can figure it out :)

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  10. Our cats go outside briefly in the morning, and then retire to comfort inside. Except that at the moment Jewel has made a nest in the banksia rose over the pergola and is chittering at birds from within it. I expect she will be out for a while. Jazz is snoring beside me.

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  11. It looks like Toby takes his responsibilities very seriously.

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  12. Poor Toby! Seems he isn't cut out for the outdoor cat life. I miss my cat. She wasn't allowed outdoors but she vigorously defended her territory at every door and window. Whenever I did let her outside with supervision, she would immediately go into hunter mode looking for birds and insects that were nearby. It always struck me how alive the hunting instinct was in her yet she was always kept indoors. Any opportunity she got she would run outside and once stayed away for 2 weeks (when visiting my sister) before she came meowing at the door one cold, wet night. She must have run away one night from her original owners. That is how my friend came to look after her, foster her and then find her a new home with me. She brought a lot of pleasure as I'm sure Toby does to you as well.

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  13. We have a cat that is a pet but an outdoor one that belongs to the people across the ravine from us (small ravine). The cat likes to come and visit, probably because of the bird feeders. He's a great hunter; I've seen him with a lizard in his mouth and at times several birds. I wonder where he deposits them at his home and if his owner is pleased with him for doing so. I'm glad he's around as I have seen at times a mouse or two outside. I think Toby lives a great life; I think he knows exactly what he's up to when he is watching through the window.

    betty

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  14. Your indoor general is funny. Ruling with an iron paw he lets the outside critters know that he is not to be messed with or he will not pay any attention to their antics.

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  15. Despite the traumatizing images of rodential things, this post is very amusing--ah, the ferocity of the indoor cat!

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  16. Like certain teachers, just "being there" seems to be enough to quell misbehaviour!

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  17. Toby seems to have a strong work ethic. We also have a large chipmunk population, although our outdoor cat has managed to catch a couple. He prefers mice, and the occasional baby bunny which makes me sad. -Jenn

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  18. Our cat was an indoor/outdoor cat when we lived in NYS, where we lived in the country and he very happily roamed far and wide. Since we moved to Florida he has decided to become an indoor cat. His choice. Toby sounds like a great cat with a very happy life.

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  19. You told a great story, Joanne. I often wonder how my two indoor cats feel about what is going on outside. Would they like to be free to explore, or are they just happy siting inside and enjoying all the comforts that they have.

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  20. Great post! I really like your Toby--he's my kind of kitty!

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  21. If I ever get a cat, I'd like a Toby. No presents, thanks.

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  22. What a delightful post Joanne. The first cat I have ever heard of who actually obeys a command to get back indoors! Lovely photo of the chipmunk - wish we had them here.

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  23. All my cats (and dogs) are indoor/outdoor. As much as I love and need the outdoors, I can't deprive any animal of it. and I love chipmunks! that may be because we don't have them here. I gather people who do have them think they are pests.

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    1. We decided current cats must be indoor because the hawk population has grown so large. I've watched a hawk take a squirrel in the front yard. Actually, we had decided no more cats, just for that reason. Then I found this four week old feral kitten lost in a motel parking lot in Pittsburgh. It howled pittyiously overnight, but could not be found until a young girl enticed him with the kitty app on her phone, and handed him off to me. I came home from an art show with this pathetic, nearly dead waif. We took a vote, the animal shelter being the alternative. He won all the votes, we didn't need his as a tie breaker. He has no traits of a house cat such as being affectionate and cuddly. He definitely is a feral cat with a house to take care of. Cats, I conclude, as as individual as every other animal on the planet. I got an interesting one.

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  24. Love this post Joanne, makes me want another cat. One forgets what characters they can be. We have only ever had indoor cats…less vet bills.

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  25. I love to read about other people's cats! We have been cat-less for almost three years now. Since moving into a better house, the cats had no mousing-frogging-bugging jobs left to do so they were not replaced when they went to their ancestors. But the second a mouse is even heard of close to the house, I will buy-kidnap-hire the best cat available.

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    Replies
    1. I forgot the flies. No fly or ant survies in our house.

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  26. We've been catless for nearly 15 years so I love reading about the Toby's, the Dudos and Mooses that belong to my friends. I have good memories of my own cats....

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  27. Bing is allergic to cats, and I am not fond of them. They are smarter than I am and I know it.

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