Catch and Release

Lucy, the cat, is a born “mouser”.  When we first moved into our current house, we had a big problem with rats, mice and moles. At the time we had an elderly cat, who had long since given up hunting. Then Lucy came to live with us. As a kitten she practised stalking and pouncing on anything that moved inside the house. When she was old enough and big enough to scale the garden walls, she transferred her attention to “live bait”. The first couple of years she kept very busy eradicating the rodent population in our yard. Not content to terrorize her prey outside, she’d often walk through the house with them, to take them into what we call “the little yard” – a small section of enclosed garden – where there was no possibility of escape for her prey. I once saw this skinny little cat drag a huge rat (already dead, thank goodness) half her size through the house. Just like a lion would, with her prey dangling between her front legs as she moved forward.

The young hunter

Then, when the rodent population had taken a significant knock (or maybe just taken up residence in another garden in our neighbourhood), Lucy turned her attention to birds.

I know that there are a lot of bird lovers who hate that domestic cats kill a lot of birds. And I have sympathy for this view. Luckily though, Lucy just sucks at the bird-catching thing. Oh, she tries very hard. I see her sitting patiently in the garden watching the birds for hours on end, and wriggling closer to them. But she always blows it at the last moment. Lucy is a very fast runner, and I think she assumes that like a cheetah she can just outrun her prey. What she keeps forgetting though is that birds can fly upwards. Eventually, however, she did manage to catch a few birds (mostly doves – the song birds are way too smart).  Because she found it difficult to control them outside, she’d often bring them in alive and release them in the house.

Watching birds in the backyard

And so that is how Lucy and my Catch and Release programme came about. Lucy would catch the birds, and bring them into the house. After that I would catch the birds (need a bird catcher anyone?), and after letting them rest and get over the shock, I’d release them into the “wilds” again.  Most of the birds I’m happy to say, survived with no major injuries.

Lately Lucy hasn’t been bringing in birds. I’m not sure if she’s tired of the effort of catching them. Or whether she just doesn’t appreciate the concept of Catch and Release!


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Categories: Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


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4 Comments on “Catch and Release”

  1. November 2, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    Lucy is so gorgeous! And your catch and release programme sounds like a win-win! I wonder what Lucy’s eyeing up as her next prey? 🙂

    • November 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

      Lucy is a sweetie! For the last couple of months she’s been concentrating her efforts on Rosie, the dog. Stalks and pounces on Rosie, and then runs away as fast as she can! 🙂

  2. November 3, 2010 at 6:11 am #

    My dad will say that Lucy is now trained to work for Fauna and Flaura 🙂

    • November 3, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

      Well, I’m not sure how they would feel about the rodent thing? Or is it okay to kill them?

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