Spring has finally arrived in Ontario and the squirrel mating season has begun. But how does a young gray-tailed lady know that the black tree rodent posing for her attention on the front porch is worthy of being her mate? The answer apparently comes down to one rather unfortunate challenge:
Who can terrorize my cat the most?
This particular black squirrel has long been a major source of entertainment / annoying itch / enemy who will one day be vanquished (delete as appropriate) for Tallis. It was clear from an early stage that he didn't give a jot about the fact a carnivorous feline was pressed up against the window a mere foot from where he was hanging from my deck rail. Still, until this morning, the squirrel's main objective had been to raid the seeds in my bird feeder and the frenzy my cat blew into was no more than a passingly interesting side-effect.
Today was different. The bird feeder was completely ignored and instead the squirrel danced in front of the window while the newly arrived gray squirrel looked on from on top of the dustbin. Tallis watched, nonplussed, from where she was sitting on my desk. The gray squirrel looked equally unimpressed. Evidently, this was not demonstrating the required quantity of bravado.
Our black friend then leapt onto the wall and ran around the outside of the window frame. Tallis had now moved to her window seat, but couldn't see the squirrel when he was above her. Feeling that his presence needed to be fully marked, the squirrel scuttled down the side of the house and leapt across onto the bug screen attached to the outside of the window pane.
A dance was then performed across the window, complete with a nut clamped in the squirrel's mouth. The addition of the food was quite blatantly to emphasize that while the squirrel had breakfast, my poor cat would be forever without the snack she desired. That didn't stop her trying to chew the squirrel straight through the glass.
In the end, however, the torment was too much. Tallis retreated to sulk in the middle of the room and the squirrel was left still clinging to the window. At length it dropped down and I've not seen it or Miss Gray since. Assuming this bold act of daring was accepted as a feat worthy of a father, this summer could be a tough one for Tallis. We may just have to draw the curtains.