Friday, August 19, 2022

Darcy meets Frumpkin

Ever since Older Daughter moved back in with us – into her own little partitioned "in-law quarters" – she has, of course, kept her cat Frumpkin on her side. There are good reasons for this: Mr. Darcy hates cats, Don is allergic, and we have Younger Daughter's small Quaker parrot Lihn, who is the perfect size for a cat snack.

So far there have been no mishaps or accidental escapes. But at the back of everyone's minds – okay, maybe it's just been at the back of my mind – was the question: What if Darcy and Frumpkin meet? The last thing I wanted was fricasseed cat.

A few days ago, after securing Mr. Darcy in our bedroom behind a closed door, Older Daughter slipped Frumpkin into a harness on a leash and let him explore the forbidden side of the house. He poked his whiskers into every nook and cranny with great interest (although he apparently never noticed the parrot in her elevated cage ... not that we were taking chances).

It should be noted, however, that Darcy has always been very patient with the parrot, who often flies down to the floor nearby where Darcy is laying. He's never pounced or even twitched an ear. Clearly I don't encourage close contact between them (I really don't want to have to explain to Younger Daughter that her parrot met a nasty demise), but it does show a remarkable restraint on the part of Darcy.

So – maybe – we could risk Darcy and Frumpkin meeting.

To be fair, Older Daughter always dismissed my concerns and assured me Darcy would be fine around the cat. And she was right!

We let Darcy out of the bedroom and he instantly zoomed in on Frumpkin, but in a very respectful and curious manner.

Older Daughter has let Frumpkin out several times now, and Darcy has always behaved himself with propriety. Where the neighborhood cats are concerned, he's still a terror (or would be, if we let him). But here on his home turf, he's quite the gentleman. What a relief.

However there's still the question of Lihn, Younger Daughter's Quaker parrot. During his few excursions around the house, Frumpkin apparently never noticed there was a bird in the vicinity. This cat is a Mighty Hunter (more on that in a bit).

Then one day ... he noticed.

Oh yes, he noticed.

For her part, Lihn was just as curious about Frumpkin – but this was a face-to-face meeting we were not permitting.

Older Daughter lifted up Frumpkin so the two species could see each other more clearly.

And that's as far as that got, for obvious reasons.

Now regarding Frumpkin as the Mighty Hunter, here's a funny story.

Early one morning when it was still dark, Older Daughter got out of bed to use the bathroom. But she stepped in something wet and squishy, not a pleasant experience in the dark. Her first thought was, "Oh great. Frumpkin upchucked."

She turned on the light and found the cat had indeed upchucked. But to her distress, the vomit was full of blood. Instantly she was flooded with worry and concern about having a sick cat.

But a closer examination of the pile revealed not just blood, but a little mousy tail and a few feet as well.

Evidently Frumpkin had caught and eaten a mouse, then threw it up. But throwing it up didn't matter to Frumpkin. Older Daughter reported that he was one satisfied cat – purring, proud of himself, utterly pleased to the point of showing off the vomit pile. "See?? See!! Look what I did!"

At least we won't have to worry about a mouse infestation as long as we have the Mighty Hunter in the house.


  1. I'm glad to read that. I really do think that dogs know when an animal is off limits inside the house. Especially a love bug like a golden.

  2. Better than what our 2 cats do. They hunt outside and then bring their toys in the house, only problem they do NOT always kill them first and then we are left setting traps all over the house to catch what the cats bring in.

  3. My son had a cat that had adopted him years ago. He was having a bad dream one night and when he woke up there was half a dead baby rabbit laying on his chest. His mama cat had brought him breakfast!

  4. Our two cats know the word "No!" When we had chicks hatching in our house, as well as a small brooder box with live chicks in it, I would specifically chose a time (each time a hatch was underway, as well as when the brooder box was loaded) to let them sniff and look as long as they were interested. (We have been hatching our own ducklings and chicks for 15 years.) I would specifically and firmly tell them, "That's a No! No!" The older cat is at least 12 years old, and the younger cat is 4 years old. They both ignore the incubator and brooder boxes now.

    They know those are Mom's chicks! We have never had a chick or duckling chased by the cats. This summer, when the younger cat caught a Carolina Wren on the front porch and I hollered, "Tigger, NO!", he let it go. She was unhurt, flew off, and proceed to build a nest on the porch anyway, and hatch and fledge 4 babies this spring.

  5. My dark side is wondering if you could work this episode into one of your upcoming inspirational romances. Not sure how exactly...

  6. When I got baby chicks a couple years ago, they graduated first from their plastic tub in the bathroom to a large, 4' wide, 6 or 7' tall set of storage shelves I wrapped in quarter inch hardware cloth, and cut holes in the wire shelves for the babies to ascend and descend. (with clay pots and bricks as steps)That unit lived in the laundry room.
    My male cat is almost a twin to Frumpkin. He took it in stride and showed very little interest in the chicks. Later, after they moved out of the laundry room, I think one of the hens must have taught him a lesson because he went through a period of FEAR of chickens! Now he and the chickens have a very respectful relationship.
    The dog had to adjust. He wanted to eat the chickens for the longest time and got scolded often for lurking around their cage, but at some point accepted that chickens are part of our animal family.
    Not long ago, a head count revealed that somebody named Patty had escaped her pen.
    The dog was running around the perimeter of the yard around the house barking.
    I put him up and prayed he didn't hurt her.
    He didn't. After about 5 minutes of calling, Patty came out of hiding, came up to me and squatted down at my feet with her head down. ( a request to be picked up) I picked her up and she snuggled in close, sticking half her face under my arm.
    Frankly, if there had been fewer chickens and their grown up size had been small, they could have lived inside in that cage contraption forever. Everything was tarped off and easy to keep clean.
    How did I ever live without birds? They bring their own unique contribution of joy!
    Your daughter's bird is small. I think you're right to be cautious.