Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Owl!

THE BIG THING: What is it with wildlife visitors lately?

First, a possum on the deck, then a raccoon. Now an owl.

Now, owls are fine and I hardly worry about wildlife going about their business. But this evening, Ayla was refusing to come in at dusk when called. I like to let the cats enjoy the outside, but I don't let them stay out in the dark.. There is an area between my yard and two others that is totally wild and Ayla loves it there.

But it was a little past sunset and Ayla was still out. so I went perimeter-walking calling her name. From the corner of an eye, I saw something land on a tree-trunk in the neighbor yard. I wasn't sure what it was (squirrel, crow maybe). But then I got nervous. A slight change of perspective and I realized it was an very large owl on a branch (I have rather good low-light vision).

Now, Ayla is a very small cat and I have seen nature shows where large owls catch rabbits. Ayla is smaller than some rabbits... And she was probably somewhere down below that owl!

What to do? Call her and hope she comes over the fence (visions of her being grabbed on the top of the fence)? Stay quiet and hope she doesn't attract the owl's attention? I finally felt on the ground for a few small stones and flung them at the owl. I finally hit the tree and it flew off a few dozen yards.

Then Ayla showed up on the fence. It was a tense minute before she hopped down towards me (she does NOT like to land on or walk on dry crunchy leaves). I corralled her toward the house as fast as I could.

I have to find a way to let Ayla out but keep her in the yard! I get more worried about her outside the yard every day. I've seen nets that mount on fences to keep cats in (and out), but I have too many shrubs and trees next to the fence. I've also seen "invisible fence" systems. I might have to install that along the top of the fence. Ayla is the only one who can get over the fence. LC used to, but she is too old now (I see her stare at it as if remembering what she used to get over). Iza is too heavy to climb it. She looks at Ayla on the fence and tries to get up, but can't.

Anyone familiar with "invisible fence" working on cats? I have just GOT to keep Ayla in the yard somehow but I just can't force her to be an indoor-only cat. She loves the outdoors SO much.

Suggestions?