Monday, May 29, 2017


One day last week, a neighbor asked me if I had a little grey tabby cat… one had been visiting his place recently. I assumed it was Hoover as she often disappears back thru the woods behind the house. So far, she seems scared of the road out front and so confines her travels into the woods around my place and back to Frank’s behind me.

            Hoover got her name from the way she attacked food when she first came here. Her dish was so clean you would not have known any food had even been in it. The bowl of crunchies looked vacuumed including the floor around it. In some other countries, the word Hoover is synonymous with cleaning. A neighbor from the UK says he is going to Hoover his car when he just means cleaning it out, not necessarily vacuuming. Hoover still acts like any meal is the first she has had in a week… often her week is 2 hours long! And she eats her food as rapidly as she can then jumps down to push Spook away from his food and clean his bowl up, too. Sigh. Poor old Spook, never the fighter, at age 14 he just moseys away and takes a nap. (You know “the grass is always greener???” Well for Hoover, the food in the other bowl is always better.)

            Anyway, the point of this post is to give anyone interested a view of this little girl kitty… a strange little thing, totally unspectacular in appearance, who squeaks, does not meow, and pesters poor old Spook because she so wants to play. Poor old man. But, he is no longer growling at her and actually does play wrestle a bit. Then it is serious nap time.

            Hoover is a great hunter. She stalks anything that moves, including deer. I have watched her do that, moving from bush to bush, belly to the ground, hiney twitching in anticipation of the moment of attack. I have never had a camera ready when she does these things, so you will just have to take my word for it. But last week, oh how I wish I had had a video camera for her last great adventure. To start with, I heard the bird – a very distinctive cry. So I looked around to see where it was. I have a family of them that live on my land and I feel so fortunate. I have posted about them before. This time, it sounded like the bird was up in the big hackberry tree behind my house. It definitely was close by… while scanning the tree for a glimpse of its distinctive colors and markings, I saw something else moving slowly up a big branch of the tree. As you have seen, Hoover is ‘dressed’ in perfect camouflage, she can disappear almost anywhere… but this bird can’t.

            It squawked again and flapped its wings at her. Hoover paused blending in with the bark of the tree, but she had definitely interrupted its snacking on the tree. We all held still, probably barely breathing. I tried to sneak closer, basically not believing my eyes… Hoover was stalking a Pileated Woodpecker that is probably bigger than she is. She crept up her branch a little further. She was probably less than 5 feet away from him. I thought, my god, what if this was a raptor and not a woodpecker? We do have a family of red-tail hawks here, too, and a family of great horned owls, both of which could pick her up in a heartbeat and have a tasty meal for their young ones.

            One more sneaky creep up the branch and the woodpecker had had enough. It opened its huge wings and flew out away from the tree, but then turned and flew back aiming straight for Hoover! I remembered a mocker than used to dive-bomb Punkin like that. I thought OMG! That long pointed beak would totally skewer Poor little Hoovie! OH NO!  But the bomber jet pulled up in plenty of time to miss Hoover, BUT, that dumb cat stood on her hind feet to make a grab at the bird! YIKES! What kind of an idiot is this????  Needless to say, she missed, in fact she almost fell out of the tree in her excitement. The Pileated flew off to snack at another tree deeper in the woods and Hoover backed down the tree. I started to breathe again, but I swear, my knees were weak!  

            Anyway, here are a few shots I took of Hoovie and Spook out in the yard the other day. Spook is still sleeping in his favorite Adirondack. I keep a big board on it to keep him dry when it sprinkles and he doesn’t want to move. It also keeps him in the shade, and it gives Hoover a place to nap or wash after she gets tired of pestering him.
And in case you forgot, our Pileated Woodpecker


troutbirder said...

Perhaps putting a bell collar on you sweet but deadly hunter would help everyone. I write this in all sincerity in light of the rapidly declining populations of many of our songbirds across the nation. This is largely due to both feral and domestic cats....

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks for introducing Hoover, Possum. She certainly keeps you and Spook entertained.

Ginnie said...

Oh, how fortunate that you have a pileated woodpecker as a regular visitor. I am so glad that neither he nor Hoover were hurt and I think Troutbirder has a valid idea about "belling the cat".
For a quiet person in a quiet and serene home you sure have some interesting ventures !