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A Prize for Paws

Based on true events

Tabs the cat was always out upon the prowl and the hunt, exploring the ways and wanderings of the city, and, when hungry, devouring any small being which crossed his path. But his meals were always minuscule, none larger than a mouse or vole, and Tabs was beginning to hope for a change. His wish would have come true, perhaps, if he had been less idle and lazy, and the sun on that day less spell-binding in its glory, and the weather less hospitable for remaining still in one place. And this is exactly what Tabs was doing, sitting in a most elegant upright position in a yard his luxurious tail curled about him and his face bent downward so that the sun could beat upon his neck. He was in a treeless yard where the rays of warmth could most easily reach his plush body, and in feeling them, he let his eyes close in pleasure. But hardly had Tabs retained his sight when he heard the most intriguing  sound. It was like the whistle of a bird, yet unlike such a noise in some unidentifiable respect. It  seemed to come from nearby, and as would occur with all cats, the curiosity of Tabs was immediately plucked like a string plucked on a violin. His eyes opened  and what did he see? Yes, indeed, he nearly had his wish fulfilled, for there, on the rough pavement of a driveway situated by the next yard, crouching like a large beige rock, was a Richardson’s Ground Squirrel. It was almost half of Tab’s own size and would have been an irresistible treat, if the sun had not beckoned the cat to remain still for one moment more. In that moment, the rodent’s head turned to the puss and in its extreme horror and surprise, gave another poignant whistle and turned tail and shot up the driveway with the dry scampering of feet on pavement and disappeared before Tabs could even arise. The cat was foiled in the gaining of his dream by none other than the bright sun, and he never forgot how nearly he had been  in receiving the wonderful prize of a meal. No, not even in his old age, and never again did he permit the sun to get the best of him. Indeed, he had lost a great prize for paws.

Richardson’s Ground Squirrel
Scuirus richardsonii

Known also less-specifically as “Gophers”, these rodents are of a pale brown hue, ticketed with black on their upper-parts, and with indistinct white line through the eye. They are native to Saskatchewan, and  are very near the base of the whole prairie food-chain. Golden Eagles, Turkey Vultures, Black-billed Magpies, American Crows, Common Ravens, Barn Owls, Coyotes, as well as scavenging insects are among those which eat these rodents dead or alive, so it is very unwise to poison this species.

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Wednesday August 4, 2021