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									      May 2010                                                                     The PEOPLE News                                                                        Page 15

                                                                             The Curious Case of Cat and Deer
                                                                 claws, a winter herd of four-   watched like statues. The       woods, but curiosity got the     ment was watching the cat
                                                                 teen deer came into the yard    cat and the deer stood a foot   best of them and they re-        stalk three deer as they
                                                                 close to where we were          away from each other and        turned to inspect this small,    grazed on the lawn.
              by Melissa Kay Bishop                              working. I suspect they saw     after much tail-twitching       but brave new oddity in            Like a lion on the African
                                                                 the decimation of one of        from both parties and some      their territory.                 plains, she slithered through
  The warming tempera-         adopted from the local shel-      their favorite spring dining    warning hoof stomps from          It did not take long for the   the grass up to each deer.
tures are calling the white-   ter. She is a wonderful           spots and came out of                                                   leader to instigate      As she popped up, they
tail deer to disband their     being that has come into our      concern. As they passed                                                 the amazing sight of     showed that they knew who
large winter herds and         lives and as most good pets       through, the cat, who had                                               interspecies nose        she was by giving no reac-
break off into smaller fam-    will do, has provided us          possibly never seen deer                                                sniffing, cat to deer.   tion other than a jerk of the
ily units. As the growth of    with a lot of entertainment.      before, watched with                                                    After thoroughly in-     head. The cat simply gave
spring flowers begins, they       On one of the first warm       wide-eyed amazement.                                                    specting each other,     in to sitting among them
forsake the evergreens of      days this winter, the kind        “Those are some big                                                     the leader must have     while they moved about
winter to come to our yards    that fools you into thinking      dogs, huh?” I said to her.                                              let the others know      her.
to dine on spring greens.      it is time to start working in      As they passed out of                                                 that this was no           It will be interesting to see
Many does are now seen         the garden, the cat and I         the yard and into the                                                   mountain lion, but a     as the year goes by whether
with large bellies ready to    went out in the yard to exca-     woods, the cat, belonging                                               pussycat and most        they will become allies or
give birth soon and provide    vate a patch filled with use-     to a species that is notori-                                            of the herd took         foes. If I see kitty curled up
the world with new little      less tulips. Useless because      ously curious, followed                                                 their turn smelling      with them in last fall’s leaf
Bambis.                        as soon as they shoot up, the     the herd.       The deer                                                every inch of my         bed, I will know the answer.
  I am one of the odd people   deer come along and nibble        stopped and slowly, cau-                                                wonder pet.
that consider myself lucky     them off. Before that hap-        tiously, approached the                                                    The days are much
to have deer visit my yard     pened, I thought it best to       cat who now took on a                                                   warmer now and the         Melissa Kay Bishop is a
on a daily basis, mainly       get rid of the bulbs and put      predator demeanor.                                                      deer come to the         journalist and wildlife hob-
because I do not have a        something else in their             One large doe stepped                                                 yard in smaller          byist living in Oak Ridge,
vegetable garden to defend.    place such as shady herbs         up to my senile feline.                                                 groups at dawn or        Tennessee. After years of
Through watching them, I       like lambs ear, or fragrant       She was probably the                                                    dusk.      We have       volunteering and working
have found them to be ma-      herbs, or make room for           winter herd’s leader as they    the deer; the cat suddenly      watched the relationship         with creatures great and
jestic, cautious, and yet      daffodils, all of which are       are ruled by an adult doe       took a flying claws-out leap    between the cat and deer         small, she now chronicles
very curious creatures.        not on the deer menu.             and not a buck. She took on     at the mammoth beast. You       evolve and as we were re-        the ones who visit her own
  For Christmas, my family        As the cat and I were          the responsibility of check-    could almost hear the herd      cently enjoying the evening      yard. She can be reached at
gave ourselves the gift of a   enjoying the sun on our           ing out the possible danger     shriek with fear as they        by having dinner on the
one-year-old cat that we       backs and the dirt under our      while      her      followers   stampeded back into the         back porch, our entertain-

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