Thursday, February 26, 2004

Sage

Max temp: 36 degrees F
Min temp: 26 degrees F

I spent an hour yesterday afternoon lying on the cold gravel underneath the Shelter office, trying to coax Sage, one of the office cats, close enough to grab.

She had darted out during an unguarded moment, into a sudden confrontation with a large dog tied outside, and she was under the building before anyone could grab her. The dog is sweet and gentle with cats but of course, she didn't know that.

The day was sunny and spring-like but the ground is still cold, cold, cold. I finally wormed my way out from under the building and fetched my parka to lie on. That gave me a measure of comfort but didn't sway the cat any. I slithered out from under the building several more times to return with catnip, toys and finally salmon--to no avail.

My blandishments and sweet-talk couldn't compete with freedom.

And the mouse.

It was apparent soon after I wiggled as far as I could under the building that the cat was answering to a more ancient instinct than friendship with humans. She was obviously hunting something--and I saw the silhouette of a vole-like shape against the light coming from the other side of the building. Sage was so focused that I was dismissed as a distant distraction.

After about an hour, something changed. I suspect she caught and killed the mouse while I was taking a break, because the final time I wiggled under the building with a dish of salmon, she finally came over to sniff the food and I coaxed her close enough to grab. Holding her firmly and murmuring soothing nonsense, I slinked my way out into the sunshine. She was a good cat and didn't struggle.

Once I had her back in the office, I made sure she had all the salmon she wanted.

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