I have a cat called Winston. We found him and his sister Churchill in a green house as kittens, where they had set up home . The family to whom the greenhouse belonged did not want more cats, but they also did not want to abandon them and so they put a notice in a local shop. Bonkers the magnificent ( of whom more later when the garden is under snow) had just been knocked down and I was desperate for another cat as the house was insufferably lonely without a guardian cat and so we coaxed them out from between the flower pots and brought them home.
After winter in the house in front of the wood stove, they were let out into the garden with the spring.
Cats and wildlife do not really mix, but as I love both, on my patch of the planet they have to try co-exist, or I like to imagine that they do.
The reality is that Churchill chases butterflies and catches and eats voles and mice. Winston hunts rats, but rarely eats them, but his real passion is catching slow worms.
Slow worms or Orvet in French, look like snakes, but are in fact leg -less lizards, with plump smooth bodies with no defense against attack except distraction: they drop their tails and this wriggles fiercely while the slow worm slithers away as fast as it can.
They live under the shed behind the compost bins and Winston finds them irresistible. He spends hours hunting them and then he brings them to us held softly in his mouth and deposits them under the table or in the middle of the dinning room floor where they stay in a transfixed coil waiting their doom. When we find them they are often cold and shocked, but the warmth of our hands revives them and they can be carried to the darkness of the compost bin where they are safe from Winston.
I am in a dilemma about how to respond to this. If I shout and rave at him he may not bring them back, but may injure or kill them instead. However my silence maybe interpreted as acceptance of his feline gift and so I compromise with a tut and hope he grows out of this obsession. But I know he won’t, so I just hope my slow worms have got used to their strange journeys and will continue to thrive in my garden.