The juvenile squirrel came back today.
It strolled through the patio fence and toured the area. Not hurried.
al-Zill followed closely, perhaps within a meter/yard of her at all times.
He seemed intrigued. As did I.
My astonished gaze followed them along the living room windows, then I leaped from my chair and ran to the bedroom.
As al-Zill sat patiently and watched, the squirrel looked through the doors, scampered around the cat carrier, and went on with her investigation of the patio.
Then the squirrel walked up to al-Zill, stopping for a moment with one front leg held up and nose outstretched like an English pointer.
The pause was momentary, yet the two were no more than a hand’s width apart.
The squirrel turned and walked back through the fence.
Up into the photinia bushes the little rascal climbed, and all the while the curious cat watched.
I can’t be certain what it was consuming, but the squirrel sat in the shrubs for some time eating and grooming.
The feline? A short distance away lying under the tree, ever watchful, always listening, never threatening.
Then the squirrel climbed down and leisurely marched around the outside of the patio fence.
Marched right by al-Zill who looked on. He easily could have reached out and touched the passerby.
Once the rodent turned the corner, the hunter stood and followed.
Neither ran. Both walked.
I ran around the other side of the house to watch.
This peaceful encounter went on and on.
A bit of chase followed later. Not hunting so much, at least not that I recognized, and little physical contact was made.
Then more walking, more following, more watching and being watched.
The squirrel eventually climbed a tree, a casual, unhurried climb, and perched withing leaping distance of the cat who lay below.
One groomed briefly while the other watched. Then vice versa.
Bored or disinterested, or both, al-Zill eventually got up and walked away, after which the juvenile rodent climbed up until it disappeared in the dense cover of the treetops.
From start to finish, the event lasted more than an hour.
Sitting here now typing this post, I feel confused and fascinated. I keep taking a mental inventory to see if perhaps I’m high on drugs or drunk on alcohol.
Having done no drugs and having consumed no alcohol, I’m left even more perplexed now than I was while watching this bizarre demonstration.
If the squirrel doesn’t fear cats, it will die soon given the healthy colony of felines here at the lake.
Is it too young to know any better? Does it have some mental issue that interferes with its normal instincts? Something else entirely? I haven’t a clue.
As for al-Zill, he seemed more interested in play and satiating his curiosity about the strange little interloper than he did in hunting and killing it.
Does he need his own pet? Are his neurological problems partly responsible? Again, I haven’t a clue.
All I know is this: I witnessed an exceptionally odd interaction between predator and prey, between two creatures normally caught in the grip of a hunter/hunted relationship.
I don’t know what to think about the whole ordeal.
I definitely need a drink…