About a year ago, Spawn was the lucky recipient of a cockatiel. Spawn-in-law hated the critter and made no effort to bond with their feathered friend. After a while, it became apparent that the bird would need to be sent away to a home where she would be loved and cared for in a manner that would befit her wonderful self.
Guess who has a new bird?
I wasn’t sure it would ever happen again, after all, losing Pokey was devastating and it still aches when I see his favorite toy hanging in the apple tree outside the office window. But when Spawn said she needed to find a home for Zoe, I was more than happy to offer the little bird a sanctuary. The only question that remained was when it would happen.
She arrived unexpectedly, so we had to scramble to make space. Her cage was kind of barren and hadn’t been properly cleaned due to lack of a good space to do that at Spawn’s tiny apartment. Tam was home ill for a couple days, so she and Zoe got to visit quite a bit right after she got here. I will admit I was more than a little jealous.
But I made up for it in spades on my first Saturday with the bird. First, I cleaned the cage (the part I could do easily without someone to keep an eye on the cats). Then I put a small handful of orchard grass hay into a corner of the cage.
Now, when we added anything new to Pokey’s cage, he would flip the hell out, squawking and avoiding it like the plague. It took him forever to finally acknowledge his bed. If I’d put hay in his cage, he would never have come down to eat. Ever.
Zoe not only came down, she stomped through that tiny pile of grass then chewed a couple of pieces before going back up to her favorite perch. Deciding she was ok with the addition, I added enough to cover the bottom of the cage a couple inches thick.
You’d have thought I’d just given her the world on a silver platter. She stomped around, dug, picked, and otherwise carried on in a very silly manner. We noticed other interesting changes as well, mainly that she was quieter. She hadn’t squawked her ear-splitting screech once since I’d put the hay in her cage. I do believe we have a very content bird in our midst.
The cats are enchanted with their oddly packaged snack, and frequently wait for us to open the door and allow them full access. Until we DO open the door, because when that damn snack comes flying at them, all flappy and shit, they do what makes the most sense: they run away and hide. Right after that little exhibition of extreme cowardice, they will sit in the nearest window and make chirping noises at the wild birds outside.
These are not rocket-scientist types of cats. Crash and Burn are fluffy-brained nincompoops, who show their love by digging their claws into your flesh and drooling on your clothes. They are also quite enchanted with crickets…and the paper bags in which I bring home crickets for the frog.
The last time I was at the pet store, I asked for two large (“dinosaur”) crickets in a lunch sack sized paper bag. I brought them home and put the bag on the floor. Immediately, they were interested and the male stuck his head inside the bag to investigate. Of course, the bag, not realizing the rules of the game, refused to simply stay on the floor, and was now being worn on the head of a cat. Said cat was confused and began backing up. It did not work, and the humans were no help at all. It’s hard to help when you’re laughing so hard all you can do is point and then laugh even harder.
He finally slipped out of the trap and gave each of us a nasty glare before IMMEDIATELY sticking his head BACK in the bag.
Sister cat realized her brother was being particularly stupid and began bathing to show her distain. Had his head not been inside a paper bag, he might have been offended.
Their curiosity about the bird still lands them in trouble, despite their terror of the winged menace when she’s flying directly at them. They’ll hang out behind the cage, staring and plotting like they actually have a chance to make good on their fantasies. The bird, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to give a rip, and goes about her merry way throwing seed hulls and bits of hay hither and yon.
But now my home feels complete. I didn’t realize just how much I was missing having a bird until Zoe arrived and made those familiar cockatiel sounds.
I’m really glad she’s here.