A blackbird had decided to build a nest in the hedge, close to the back door. So far, so good, but then he got Really Angry when the cats went out. Sounding the alarm and even diving towards them! The cats sneaked from chair to chair, but after about a week of this they didn’t want to go out as often anymore: the Angry Blackbird was winning the battle for the backyard. It even got so bad that they’d sit on the backs of the chairs we have in the living, and the Angry Blackbird would see them through the glass, and then would get all Angry again — we’ve spent a few days with the curtains half-drawn…

And then last Saturday, the cats went out — the Angry Blackbird seemed to be occupied elsewhere. But after a while, he had found them again and was again in full-on alarm mode. When I went to the backdoor to let the cats back in, I saw that they had caught a lady blackbird! I let them in, and then I found that the bird was still alive — but she clearly was never going to get up by herself, so I had to euthanise her… Not a happy experience, that. We’re still not sure if this was the prospective bride of the Angry Blackbird, or just a random passer-by.

Later that day, we decided that enough was enough. We plucked the blackbird nest out of the hedge (which was still empty) and chucked it in the green bin. I don’t enjoy interfering like this, but raising a nest of young birds in our back yard is not going to end well for anybody involved.
We haven’t seen the Angry Blackbird since.

Kitty doorkeeper

We had new windows and a new front door installed in Februari. The old windows were only single pane glass, so in winter it wasn’t very comfortable. And since that side of the house is oriented to the south, it needs regular painting — but the new windows are plastic, so we never have to do anything about that again.
I especially like the new front door — though we had to install a mailbox outside since the new door doesn’t have a mailslot. (Which we only found out after it was installed and the mailperson rang the bell to tell us she couldn’t put our mail anywhere…) It has a narrow pane of glass to the side that goes all the way to the floor — a perfect size to act as the lookout post for a cat!
So when I return from work, this is how I am greeted:

Birthday girls

Today, this young lady officially turned 3 years old…

…as did her sister!

(And it is surprisingly hard to make good photos of our dark and lively cats. How do all those high-quality cat videos get made? It baffles me.)

Mikan was missing

Our cats love to go outside. They have thick coats (Yuzu a tad more than Mikan, but still) and so are well-suited to roaming outside. It’s like they’re teenagers: they leave the house in the morning and only come home to eat and sleep. But we trained them: when they return when we call them, they get kitty candy. Yuzu is a bit less attentive in that respect, but Mikan comes running when we call her and clap our hands just outside our back door.
Yuzu has been staying out during the night this summer: while Mikan was already inside, Yuzu would not come when we called her and did not come back on her own. The first time this happened, we slept quite bad: everything you hear sounds like a mewing kitty just outside! But then we (sort-of) learned to trust her instincts and let her do her thing.
Now that the weather is getting (much!) colder, she often comes inside just before dark, which suits us fine! Sometimes she wants to go out again, but we simply keep her inside.

On Sunday, Yuzu returned as usual, but no matter how much we called for Mikan, she did not return. I roamed outside for a bit with a flashlight, but did not find her. With the nights bitterly cold, we were kind of worried, but in the end we had to go to sleep (I had to leave the house at 07:00 the next morning).
The next morning, there was still no sign of her. We were getting worried.

During the day, klik discovered that Mikan was actually in the back yard of our neighbours! We had heard our neighbour trying to keep his dog down as it chased after something in their back yard, but we had not realised it was Mikan.
There are fences on both side of their back yard, and a kitty that can climb can easily get away. But our cats never learned to climb — something we don’t mind that much, since it means that the kitchen counter tops are safe. But in this case, it meant that Mikan could not leave — the gap between their back door and the ground is too small for even Mikan to squeeze through. She must have crept inside when the neighbour was walking his dog — he probably left the door open then.
Luckily, our neighbours are about to throw away their old couches. They’ve put them in the back yard, and put plastic over them to protect them from the rain. Mikan had crawled in the gap between the couches, and had been able to find shelter in that way.

By the time I returned from my client (17:30), our neighbours still were not home. So we decided to stage a rescue ourselves. Using steps and ladders, I climbed over their back yard wall and was about to coax Mikan from her hiding place, when the neighbour returned.
She was quite alarmed to see the steps — their house had been burglarised this summer — but she relaxed when se saw klik standing there. We explained the situation, and she didn’t mind us picking apart their couches at all. (They have pets themselves, they understand.)

Mikan was active and curious, so she didn’t suffer any trauma. She did quickly dispatch her food, though! But after that, she settled down again and dozed off on the couch, as usual. Still, I hope she won’t repeat this little adventure — at least not until it’s gotten warmer again!

Mikan was already inside, Yuzu was still wandering outside. And then a calico cat decided that this was the right time for an incursion into our back yard. Yuzu went in full battle mode and snarled — chased the other cat out of our garden, and then even pursued it.
Mikan heard this and flew up to the back door. She was all “Don’t touch my sister, you jerk!”

Now Yuzu is gone in pursuit of the interloper (we couldn’t find them by the time we got by the back door), and Mikan is still stressed and has hear tail puffed up. Clearly a case of adrenaline!

Kittiepix

Living with Yuzu is like living with a teenager: she only comes home to eat and sleep! (Though if you let her, she’ll snuggle up to you in bed.)
Just outside our back door is a large pot with bamboo. It’s quite full and fluffy, but the underside is pretty sparse. So that’s where Yuzu likes to hang out, to hide in the shade.

Meanwhile, Mikan is much more sociable. She likes going outside as well, but she’s also quite content hanging out at home.