I was cleaning and filling the nine bird feeders I have hanging from the swing set frame in my back yard. The birds make a real mess of them and occasionally I have to take them down and clean them. Tigger is attentive to whatever I am doing, especially if it is being done in the kitchen. This morning he was right between my feet as I worked.
"Tigger, these bird feeders are such a mess! Birds are really messy eaters you know. They even poop on their feeders!" I said to Tigger as I labored at the sink to clean up the feeders.
"Poop on their feeders? They really do that? Don't they have a litter box?" Tigger asked as he did figure eights around my ankles, rubbing so hard against me that if I were to pull my leg away he would fall down.
"No, they don't have litter boxes. The whole outdoors is their litter box.", I replied.
"Well, if their litter box is all that big, why do they use their feeders?" he asked as he ran back to the sliding screen door to watch the birds milling around where the feeders usually hang.
"I don't know. Just don't have the clean habits of cats, I suppose." I said, feeling good that I could make him feel superior to the birds... as though that was necessary. He feels superior to everything on his own. Actually I think the birds are quite nice. That is why I feed them, I like having them round.
I continued to clean, fussing all the time about how much work it is to clean nine feeders.
"Why don't you just clean three a week? You do know that three goes into nine three times with nothing left over don't you?" he suggest, feeling smug that he was so cleaver with arithmetic.
"Great idea! I think I will do just that. Of course I know three goes into nine an even number of times... why didn't I think of that? Cats aren't just clean, they are smart too. Those birds are awfully noisy. I wonder what they are saying?" I replied.
"I speak fluent bird. Do you want me to translate for you?"
"If you don't mind."
Tigger ran to the screen and listened as the birds chirped and fussed away. He ran back to me and resumed his figure eights around my ankles then stretched up with his paws on my leg.
"They are fussing because their feeders aren't out there and they want breakfast... NOW!"
"Well, it takes time to clean these dirty feeders. If they didn't get them so dirty I wouldn't have to take so much time cleaning them.", I said.
Tigger ran back to the screen and said something to the birds. They replied and he answered them then ran back to me.
"I told them it was their own fault because they got their feeders so dirty. They
said they were still hungry and wanted their food. I told them I would tell you.", he said.
"Well, you just tell them to hold their horses.", I replied.
He ran back to the screen and told them. They seemed to ask him a question and he replied and ran back to me. He does like doing figure eights around my ankles!
"I told them to hold their horses and they asked me what a horse was. I told them to look it up. Uh.... by the way, what is a horse?"
"A horse is a great big animal with four legs just like you. He is big enough for people to put a saddle on and ride them." I said, wondering how I had gotten into this tangle of a conversation.
"Really? That big? By the way, what do they eat?" he asked, more than a little concern in his voice.
"They don't eat cats. They eat grass and hay."
"Whew... good. Birds have horses?" he asked, relieved that he was not potential horse food.
"No, not really. That is only a figure of speech. Guess you have to be human to understand."
"Don't be silly. Cats are smart as any human. We know what a figure of... uh... what was that again?.... is!" he huffed as he ran back to the screen and conversed for awhile with the birds.
When he returned I asked "What was all
"I just reminded them that you were feeding them and taking care of them with fresh water and all that and the only reason it was taking so long was that they were so messy." he replied.
"And what did they say to that?"
"They asked me who cleaned my... uh..... oh, never mind." me mumbled.
"They said never mind'?"
"Uh... no. I said that.... to you."
"Oh, now I understand. Well you can tell them I am through cleaning all these feeders and will be right out to fill them and hang them." I said.
"Oh.... would you mind leaving one of them down on the ground?" he asked.
"And why would you want me to do that?" I asked... afraid I already knew the answer.
"Oh, I just like to watch them feed a little closer up. I like to see them eats lots and lots. It makes them so plump and healthy you know. A really wonderful thing to see."
"I bet. I don't even want to know why it is so wonderful for a cat to watch a bird eat an get really plump and healthy."
"It's a cat... thing.", he said as he went to the screen to watch me fill the feeders and hang them.