Our Balbriggan cat, Arthur, who is about 18 years old, has settled in to life in Tacumshin well. He patrols his demesne and one evening brought home a rat as if to prove there was life in the old cat yet. Since moving to this rural South Wexford location, a couple more cats have taken up residence in the outhouses behind the house. Arthur sleeps indoors and they are used to being out so relative harmony is maintained.

The real value of the cats is their predatory instinct when it comes to rats and mice. The pity is that Arthur is not 10 years younger as he seems to have the most canny instinct of all three cats. He knows he cannot outrun a rat at his age, so he takes up position under hedgerows and out of sight in the hope of ambushing a restless rodent searching for food.

The other two are young adult males. I brought both to the vet for neutering, partly to curtail the wander-lust and partly to stem the growth of feral cat populations which are a bane for wildbirds in particular. One cat

'Stocaí Bána' caught and ate this field mouse, another reason not to be using poison.

‘Stocaí Bána’ caught and ate this field mouse, another reason not to be using poison.

is called Stocaí Bána (because he appears to be wearing white socks!) and the other is Garfield (as he looks the spit of the cartoon smart cat!). Unlike the other two, however, his smartness has not extended as far as catching a rat as far as we know.


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