Derek It was lunchtime when the gardener went inside having achieved his objective for the morning, which had been to dig over a small patch of garden, insert some long thin stakes into the soil and secure them together at the top to form a wigwam. At the bottom of each stick he planted a healthy young runner bean plant.

Before the afternoon was through there was not only a bean rack in the garden, but a look out post come boundary marker come ‘here I am girls’ from which a fresh young cock sparrow, who was called Chirper Tensing on account of his constant chirping from high places could sit and sing to his heart’s content.

If a hen sparrow came within range, he would fluff out his feathers, flop his wings at a jaunty angle and burst forth with another chorus of loud chirps whilst doing his little hopping up and down mating dance.

If a cock sparrow came anywhere near the bean rack, Chirper Tensing would chase him away then return to his perch so sing of his victory.

All this activity hadn’t gone unnoticed by Derek, a white cat with funny eyebrows, who at first wasn't too bothered by the presence of Chirper Tensing in his garden. But Chirper Tensing began to develop an annoying habit over the next couple of days. If Derek came out into the garden, Chirper Tensing instantly would start to wind up his alarm chirps alerting anything with wings that there was feline trouble about, which rather spoiled things for Derek. Because if there was one thing Derek liked, really liked, was a bit of stalking and ambushing, even if he didn’t catch anything. But ever since Chirper Tensing arrived, there was nothing to crouch and pounce on as everything had been warned off.

 Chirper Tensing had to go.

But the bean rack was too high, too out in the open, and too fragile for Derek to climb. The answer was that Derek needed an accomplice, a cat to distract Chirper Tensing whilst he masterminded an ambush. Now, as it happened there was a second cat in the household, a grey, lazy floppity old Persian by the name of Oliver. So, Derek persuaded Oliver to just casually mill about on the lawn in front of Chirper Tensing. The idea was that Derek would creep round the back of the bean poles, climb on the tool shed and from there he might just be able to spring on the unsuspecting feathered sentinel.

After a bit of persuasion and the loan of a catnip mouse, Oliver began a lazy, nonchalant sort of a saunter around the lawn and flower-bed. The plan worked. Chirper Tensing was onto him like a flash. Volleys of alarm chirping rang out from the top of the bean rack as he hopped up and down on the top of the wigwam, but behind him the shed was silently being scaled and two beady eyes popped up over the roof. The sparrow’s back was toward Derek as he chirped and hopped up and down whilst staring angrily at Oliver below him. Derek slithered ever closer, his eyes widened as he focused his stare. His haunches started to quiver with excitement, his coiled muscles were ready to spring.

It was all over in a flash. Chirper Tensing was caught, and so too was Derek by a forceful jet of very cold water from the garden hose by the gardener, who blasted them both off their legs.

A very damp Derek and a soggy Chirper Tensing fled in opposite directions.

Chirper Tensing was never seen in the garden again.

One Cat is Company

"One cat is company.
Two cats are a conspiracy. 
Three cats is an attempted takeover.
Four or more cats is a complete coup!"

Shona Steele (Australia)