Bad moments

1953/22nd July 2022

In the late evening light, there is already an autumnal tinge on those hills, though I suspect it is just an illusion.

Or wishful thinking!

Light and aspect can, of course, completely change appearances.

There are always at least two ways of looking at anything, be it an object or a situation.

It’s something I always try to remember, especially these days when I take in the news.

What if “they” are right? After all, they are equally convinced that “we” are deluded.

But in this case, no, sorry. There is just too much evidence. And they are almost all complete sleazeballs.

Monitoring the milkweed is a more promising occupation than trying to comprehend human behaviour.

First thing each morning, I take a look through the foliage which is fairly dense and offers great camouflage.

This morning at last, a small caterpillar.

They move around very quickly. After breakfast my little friend had re-located. (below)

In the meantime, Grant had spotted another, larger caterpillar by the front door.

There have been Monarch butterflies flitting about of late. Perhaps the airborne version of the early caterpillars we saw a month ago. Hopefully they will lay more eggs.

There is considerable competition for the milkweed.

A few days ago I picked a leaf that had been totally shredded. Twiddling it about, admiring the skeleton, I discovered that the shredders were still aboard.

Apologizing, I placed the leaf back among the foliage. Google suggests that they are new born tussock moth caterpillars. (below)

Two days later they are doing awfully well! (right)

While hunting for more Monarch caterpillars, I discovered a so-called “Twice-stabbed ladybird”.

Google says they are currently “invading” Great Britain.

We get all sorts, but I’ve never seen a black one before.

We also get a lot of Assassin bugs.

As this morning’s observation suggests, there will soon be even more.

As long as they don’t come indoors and crawl on me, or otherwise attack me, all are welcome.

This morning was one of those times that remind me why I really don’t like the cats going out.

My first cat came from an owner that had allowed him to roam. Once they have had a taste of freedom, cats crave it, so it wasn’t until Mo went missing the first time, that I tried to restrict him.

That Winter was bitter and for some weeks, he was happy to stay in. But when Spring arrived, my boy wailed at the door and reluctantly I gave in.

Every time I watched him scamper downstairs, I said “goodbye” and one day he did not come back.

It is still hard, forty years later, for me to think that I never knew what happened to him.

Losing a pet that dies is awful.

Losing one and not knowing what happened to it is torture.

Back in Washington State, my property was close to a busy road and there Grant would only take cats out if they accepted wearing harness as our dear old “M” did.

“M” was chief cat of the foster suite.

For a reason long forgotten, he was brought upstairs for a brief stay on the third floor, in a spare room.

When I went in to see him first thing next morning I was horrified to find that he had escaped through two thicknesses of window screens, jumping some 12 or more feet onto rocks, as in this picture.

We looked and called till we were hoarse.

That night, I had to go somewhere and miserably, I left Grant sitting by the downstairs door, just waiting.

Not long after, I got a call to say that “M” had come back, looking for dinner, no doubt.

There are no words to describe the anguish these situations cause.

So, selfishly, I would prefer to keep all cats indoors.

But I know they love to go out and mostly, here, it’s not a problem.

Except when Toby or Lily goes for an extended walk.

This morning it was really extended.

It reached the stage at which my stomach clenched and I began to feel the on-set of tears.

Lily is my senior cat. We’ve been together 14 years.

She is the only one left of a special group I loved so much. My heart broke so often, during those years. Then, after we moved to New York, Lily drifted, seeming to prefer hanging out with Grant.

It’s how cats are. There was no need to be upset and of course I still love her every bit as much.

These days, Lily is actually sharing herself and it makes me so happy when she pushes me out of my chair!

But I am not happy when she takes extended walks.

“Not going to pull my privileges, are you?”

“Perhaps you could try apologizing first, Lily?”

9 thoughts on “Bad moments

  1. That’s why I like dogs, they stick by your side at all times.
    I have had ‘missing’ cats that never came home, and remember how upsetting that is. Though I was told not to worry, as they have usually just gone to live with someone else who was also feeding them.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I see lots of messages on social media about cats who have “gone missing”. They are usually from people who do not understand that cats will quite happily adopt a slave who pets them or feeds them and they will happily divide their time between several human providers!

  3. Thank you, Carolyn, for the philosophical musing, the wonderful pictures of bugs and cats, and the feeling of well-being after reading your post.


  4. I’m not sure if we have Monarch caterpillars here in Brisbane (Oz) but how they devoured that leaf is exactly how my young fig tree leaves looked like before falling off for Autumn. Will have to look into it more…thanks for all of the tips.

    Cats love to venture outside, especially at dusk and dawn, but here they attack the fauna so people add bells to their collars to at least give a bird/lizard a chance to escape. I also thought it was illegal to let a cat roam at night here, but need to do a little research on that one… 😉

    Love the photos and musing!

  5. It’s a dilemma. When there’s no road to worry about then there are other issues. My cats have always loved roaming the garden and sniffing the wind. But what finally did it for me was the coyote crossing the yard and then the excess of deer ticks. Yes – I gave them the anti-tick treatment but still – the cats were still “the ride inside”. It always felt awful to keep them inside though.

  6. I did not know that a cat will allow a harness to go for a walk 😮. Ah, just look at that begging face of Lily to go outside … but I understand your reason for being hesitant to let them roaming freely … I would get anxious too when they disappear.

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