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We’ve had visits from the other furry inhabitants of the Court recently, the squirrels.  There are a number of  squirrels

One of the Oak Court Squirrels

that live in the pines around the court; probably more than the dozen we’ve been able to identify.   The cats are not too concerned about the squirrels, it seems.  One would think felines would attack (or at least chase) the varmints out of the yard.  The Oak Court Cats don’t chase them off; they don’t defend their territory at all.  They just sit there as the squirrels scamper around the yard.

I tried to figure this strange behavior out, googled a number of sites, asked my vet as well.  At one point I even contacted the county agricultural office to see if they could explain this behavior and was not able to get an answer.  On more than one occasion I was told “Cats chase squirrels”.    But they don’t.  At least here they don’t.

Now, the squirrels come here for a reason.  Peanuts.  We will occasionally toss them a peanut.  Now don’t go wild and call someone and complain; we toss out roasted but not salted peanuts only.  Don’t want to be accused of causing high blood pressure amongst the squirrel population.

This has gone on for a few years now and the cats get along with the squirrels; there’s been no attacks that we know about.

Lately we’ve noticed the squirrels have become a bit more aggressive.  2 of their community have been seen sneaking into the house, searching for the peanut stash.  One of them, probably the ring leader, actually climbed up on the sofa. (One of the cats was there and didn’t move at all). Others have taken to standing on the picnic table staring at the back door, sometimes standing on the back step, watching us as we walk around the kitchen.

I’ve been in the garage doing the laundry and have experienced that  feeling you get when you know you’re being watched.  Yes, a squirrel was be up in the rafters staring down at me.

Scene of the attack

It was inevitable, at some point they would attack the house and find the peanut stash.  A week ago they made their way in and found the peanut bucket.  I arrived home from work that evening to find the remains of a 2 pound bag of unsalted roasted peanuts scattered across the kitchen floor and a trail leading out the back  door.

You can’t seem them in the picture, the Oak Court Cats.  They were not there, anywhere.  As far as I know they helped the squirrels to the peanut stash, probably held the cat door open so they could come in  and make off with the nuts.

We’re a little more careful after this assault. The peanut stash is now kept behind a closed pantry door. We try to chase the squirrels away from the back when we see them begin to congregate.

Will this work? probably not.  The Oak Court Cats probably don’t see the squirrels as a threat.  After all, as one of the cat’s tried to explain, they eat peanuts and we don’t.

Nite.

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The weather improved today, while still cool (mid 60s) it was sunny.  The Oak Court Cats were on the back steps this morning, warming themselves.  Missey prefers to take a nap in the morning sun stretched out on my desk.  today, she ventured out to take advantage of the sun’s warmth on the concrete steps.

They had been there for a half an hour when the first visitor came up the walk.  The squirrels.

Missey was asleep and didn’t notice the gray squirrel that walked right by her and up the steps.   The big cat, sitting in the old planter by the door just watched and the predator was more interested in a dragon fly than the squirrel.

The picture is a little blurry, I was at the other end of the house when I noticed the squirrel looking around the kitchen.  They know the peanuts are in a special container (I keep them in an old Folgers plastic coffee can).  She was looking for the can.

Sneaky Squirrel

We may have brought this on  ourselves; the squirrels come by in the morning for a few peanuts.  At first they’d approach the house slowly, wary of the cats.  Now, however, they come up to door and beyond.  It would seem the cats have figured out the gray furballs are no threat and and because they people feed them, they must be ok and are not to be attacked.

So they walk right by the cats.

I’ve seen other cats putting up with them; our first cat, a mellow Manx, was born in a house that had a squirrel in residence and he must have thought they were part of the pride.  When Missey was much younger, she used to chase them from the yard; now, however, she only chases the other cats away from her nap spot.

We have a dozen furry visitors now, the oldest being a chubby female (the alpha from the way she acts) all the way down to 2 small young ones (who haven’t figured out the cats yet). There is an old guy, looks like he’s been through a few fights (torn ear, right foreleg looks like it was damaged and didn’t heal right).  While most are California gray squirrels, there are a few brown and one who is almost black.  A diverse group who make their homes in the trees just outside of the yard.

The cats have accepted the visitors, probably until one of them touches the cat food.  Things could change then.

Nite.