Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Duck, Duck ....Cat!
Yesterday, Rocío and I went for her appointment with the ophthalmologist. This took us the better part of the morning, involved taking two buses there and two buses back, and ended up with me shelling out a small fortune for new glasses. The other day Ro's glasses fell from the desk onto Vio's bed and got crushed by Vio. While they could be bent back into shape, they will never quite be the same again. This, along with the fact that Ro is following in the footsteps of her blind-as-a-bat parents, and her prescription has changed once again, means there's no getting out of buying new glasses.
After our little excursion, we got on the bus to go home. It dropped us off, and as we passed the river near our house we could hear some ducks quacking, so we stopped to have a look. To Ro's delight the ducks had ducklings, so we stayed a while to watch them swim. It was a warm day, and when we got home the house was quite stuffy, so I opened the door to the garden and went out to see what the cats were up to. Coco streaked by, with something brownish in his mouth; it was clearly too large to be a mouse or a sparrow, and I thought it might be a rat. Our sweet Siamese kitty is a ferocious hunter, and even though he wears a bell he constantly appears with mice, moles and small birds; but yesterday's catch was his largest by far. I must say I was horrified to think there could be rats nearby, visions of plague and other nasty diseases flashed into my mind (Guess I've been watching too much House). Usually, I try to free whatever he catches, even the moles, because I am just too soft-hearted to see how the cats make them suffer before killing them. However, rats are a different story; I got a bit closer to have a better look, with no intention of intervening, and Coco dropped his hapless victim. I cautiously continued to move toward him, thinking he would pounce on the rat again, which is what he always does when we try to get close to any of his prey. But he lay down and looked perplexedly at the thing in front of him. I closed in, and then I realized it wasn't a rat at all - It was a duckling. So, I moved fast and picked up the poor creature, who tried to scramble away under some weeds. A duckling was the last thing I expected the cat to drag in, and I still don't understand why he didn't harm it, but I have the feeling that he wasn't quite sure what it was, or what to do with it.
Rocío and I filled a tub with water, which the little fellow enjoyed immensely, dipping his bill in to drink and shaking the water off his stub of a tail. Then we fed him a bit of bread dipped in milk. I decided we should call the Animal Society to come pick him up, since we didn't know where the mother was or if she would accept him after being dragged around by a cat. But we waited for Carmen and Vio to come home, so they could see it too.
After a bit, I went outside again, I don't really know why, but I felt a need to check up on our little hunter. I saw him nosing around in the weeds on one side of the garden (we really need to do some serious work out there), and I went to see what he had this time. To my surprise, another duckling was hiding under some plants, and Coco was moving around it, smelling it, but not attacking it. So, I rescued the second little guy and looked around for more, but I didn't find anything else, and I took him inside with the first one.
When Carmen and Vio got home they were delighted, and wanted to keep them. This, for obvious reasons, was out of the question, although I have to admit I was tempted too. I let the kids watch them swim for a while and then they took turns holding them for a while. The poor little things seemed happiest when being held, and they kept climbing up into the girls' hair which, of course, the girls loved. We were about to call the Animal Society when we remembered that the kids' school has a sort of mini-zoo, with all kinds of birds, so we decided to see if the school would keep them. Luckily, Marino, the priest who's in charge of the animals was more than happy to take them, and told the girls to come visit whenever they like. I'm afraid he doesn't know just how persistent they are, and now he'll have them hanging out over there every day at recess (along with hordes of their friends). Today they had their first visit, and it seems they are quite happy with their temporary home, made out of a Xerox paper box. Marino decided to name them Joaquín and Matea, although I'm not quite sure how he knows for sure what sex they are; I wonder if duck sexing is anything like chick sexing, which I've heard is a difficult, but well paid art.
Well, all's well that ends well. Joaquín and Matea may not be free, but at least they are safe from the clutches of our naughty cat, and they're sure to get lots of love.