Saturday, March 4, 2017

The garden through a cat's eyes

I've been feeling guilty about not giving my cat, Pipig, any time to roam outside.  Concern about her ambushing an unsuspecting bird is part of that, although she's never shown herself to be a huntress, but the bigger concern is the risk of a run-in with a coyote as these animals have become far more aggressive of late.  They used to confine their hunting to the night hours but now they're often seen during the day.  Just a couple of months ago, our next door neighbor's Pomeranian was carried off from a fenced backyard.  I was also told that a local woman and her Mastiff were recently surrounded by a pack of 3 coyotes while walking in a nearby park during daylight hours.  Under the circumstances, I keep Pipig close.  In addition to full run of the house, she has a porch of her own with a climbing tree and catwalks but she still runs for the door every time I enter to clean her box.  This week I gave her a treat and accompanied her on a supervised stroll through the garden.

Pipig exiting her screened porch

She climbed up on this pot and spent several minutes staring at the garden through the metal screen for unknown reasons


I don't know why she was so fascinated by the view through the metal screen.  She didn't have any interest in the plants that drew my eye.

She ignored Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset'

She couldn't have cared less about the blooms of Bulbine frutescens

or how nice the pink Freesia look growing up through and around Cuphea 'Starfire Pink'

She continued on her way toward the backyard patio


For a moment, it looked as though the Ageratum corymbosum had caught her interest but my guess is that she may have sighted a lizard.

If she saw a lizard, she apparently decided it wasn't worth chasing

Ageratum corymbosum is full of buds but has no blooms yet


She moved on and checked out the Aeonium arboreum.

I thought maybe she was after another lizard, or worse yet a bird

But I guess she was drawn to the Pennisetum 'Fireworks'.  Recently cut back, it's already producing bright new foliage.


After allowing her to munch on ornamental grass for a few minutes, I moved her back to the main walkway to keep her a safe distance from the bird feeder.  She wasn't pleased.

She looks irritated, doesn't she?


I let her stroll a bit further, nipping at her heels but then noise from across the canyon made her nervous.  She doesn't like loud noises.

At first, I thought the source of the noise was this house remodel across the canyon - remodeling is continuous in these parts

But no, the loudest noise is coming from a house a little further east.  This house has been undergoing renovations of one sort or another at intervals for years and it now it appears the owners are replacing their very long concrete driveway.  It's amazing how sound carries here...


So I cut Pipig's stroll short, set her back in her porch, and closed the door.  Back on her cat tree perch, loud noise forgotten, she gave me the stink-eye.




All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


27 comments:

  1. Both your kitty and your Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset' are so pretty! Do you water the lotus a lot or fertilize it? Really stunning.

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    1. No fertilizer added. This Lotus is fairly drought tolerant, although I'm sure all the rain we've had this winter gave it an extra boost - until yesterday, I had't watered anything except brand new plantings since December. Unfortunately, the rain is tapering off and I may have to turn the irrigation system back on again soon.

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    2. Thanks for the information. Beautiful garden.

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  2. How cute! Sorry to hear about the coyotes - that's kind of scary. Your bulbine looks great. Mine isn't blooming yet.

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    1. Coincidentally, one of the local LA news stations had a feature on coyotes just this morning. Apparently, our area isn't the only one experiencing more aggressive behavior from them.

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  3. I have always had cats as garden companions .There is an occasional bird incident, but for the most part they are too lazy to show much interest in hunting. The preferred pastime is following me around to supervise my chores !

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    1. If Pipig would stay a bit closer, I'd give her more time outside. The only thing she's ever caught (and eaten) was a lizard that was foolish enough to enter her porch. However, on a couple of occasions she got out unnoticed and I couldn't find her despite a "locator" device attached to her collar, which means she wandered out of range. She eventually came home (quite pleased with herself) after I entertained morbid visions of her in the jaws of the canyon-dwelling coyotes.

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  4. She is going to be wanting more outside time from now on. I don't blame him for checking everything out. It all looks so lovely. I would be doing the same thing.
    Yes, coyotes have been known to carry off small dogs in our neighborhood. Some of our neighbors want something done about it. They are very keen on upsetting the balance of nature. Yesterday it was snakes. We have a couple of venomous snakes around here. Coral and rattler.They have been having a pest service do something. What I don't know but I liked it when the guy told them-get rid of the corals and the rattler will come....Get rid of the snakes and the mice and rats will come. And then the snakes will be back.

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    1. There are regular calls to trap animals here too, including coyotes, raccoons and even peacocks. Some people may take action on their own - I know that's happened in the case of the peacocks, which are a non-native species and considered pests by some people here - but all these creatures are protected by ordinance. The focus is mainly on tracking their numbers and educating people on safely co-existing with them.

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  5. Aw, sweet Pipig! I remember the posts you used to do about your male kitty's garden walks. My cat Ronin sits on his tree in that exact same pose as Pipig in your last shot, with his front paws draped over it. He likes to look out the window at me when I work, but has no interest in going out. We've had cougar and bear sightings, so that's fine with me.

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    1. I still miss my Ming. He was so sick when I took him out for those regular walks, he was largely confined to the porch and, when I let him out, he wasn't capable to going far or moving fast, unlike her highness, Ms. Pipig. Ronin is smarter than she is - he knows he has a good thing.

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  6. That was fun! Your photo of her "on her way toward the backyard patio" took my breath away a little bit, so beautiful!

    The coyote sightings here seem to be on the rise. In the last month Lila and I have encountered one (thankfully alone) on our midday walks. So far they seem mostly afraid of us, I hope it stays that way.

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    1. The recommendation from authorities here is to routinely "haze" coyotes whenever you see them (waving arms, yelling at them) to reinforce their fear of humans. They've become too comfortable around people here. One of our former neighbors even used to feed them with the misguided intent of discouraging them from eating the dozen cats she kept.

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  7. Like Pipig I am drawn to Pennisetum 'Fireworks'. Looks like I got mine through winter, well there are some signs of green. I hope I get the bright new foliage as well now.

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    1. I've heard that others here have had problem with 'Fireworks' but it handled the drought and appears to be taking the rain in stride too. I hope yours comes through winter's challenges as well, Jessica.

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  8. Pipig is a lovely girl, but she's got to be kept safe from those dangerous predators, whether she likes it or not!
    Your garden is GORGEOUS!!

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    1. I keep trying to tell her that being locked up is for her own good but she does nothing but talk back to me!

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  9. It sounds like the coyotes in your area are becoming quite a problem. Is there anything authorities can do? Pipig must have enjoyed the walk in your garden and I can understand her irritation when you cut it short. Your garden is a botanical wonder; I wish I could take a long stroll through it myself!

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    1. You're welcome to come by for a stroll any time you're out this way, Deb!

      The authorities are trying to teach people how to live with coyotes but there are no plans to remove or relocate them as this is their natural habitat - we're the real intruders. A few of the surrounding cities have trapped and euthanized them but the focus here is on educating people as to how to prevent problems.

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  10. Lucky Pipig to live/stroll in such an amazing garden. In the second picture, she must be admiring that gorgeous echeveria. She wouldn't stare directly and let you think she was impressed with your efforts, as it might make you feel in some way superior to her and we all know that felines run the planet. Seems like the coyotes would scare off or eat some raccoons. Sorry to hear about your neighbor's Pomeranian - very sad and scary.

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    1. I think the raccoons, skunks and coyotes have deals settling who gets to use which garden when, Peter.

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  11. I've been hearing lots of coyote horror stories from my BIL's Torrance neighborhood, which really surprised me. The residents are developing zero tolerance -- apparently coyotes cannot be successfully relocated. What a mess. Love reading about Pipig's "controlled" adventure!

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    1. Reaction to the coyote problem does seem to be spinning out of control. I think we have to start managing our own behavior rather than trying to manage theirs but I fear that public hysteria is taking over.

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  12. Oh yes be very careful! The coyotes may have pups and they will be hungry. There's no such thing as an outdoor cat here, except the very sly and wary Spot who belongs to K, and even Spot knows enough to spend his nights in the garage.

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    1. Pipig has escaped into the night twice, both times causing me to have a near heart attack. I keep a close tab on her now, even when she's with me in broad daylight. She also wears a "locator" device to help me find her if she decides it would be fun to play hide-and-seek while I'm cleaning out her porch.

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  13. Your coyote problems sound like our baboon problems.
    The problem animal being the human who 'feeds' the wild animals. Saw a photo of a French tourist gleefully pursuing a baboon to retrieve his rucksack. NotAGoodIdea, they have fearsome teeth.

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    1. I heard there's a woman in a nearby neighborhood who still feeds coyotes but I understand local authorities are clamping down on that. Still, the coyotes are getting too comfortable around humans here - the recommendation is: if you see one, "haze" it by yelling and waving arms to increase its wariness of people.

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