The Cagey Bird

By Pam Bergman Crawford

No sooner had the family left to watch their son’s hockey game, the cat, who had been casually sitting on the sofa watching out the window, sprang into action. He had been studying the birdcage for days. It was hung on a hook, firmly attached to the ceiling. Ha, ha, he thought to himself. They think it is out of my reach.

He leaped onto a bookcase close to the cage and then onto it. Looking down at the canary, who was now frantic, he stuck a paw into the cage, causing it to sway back and forth. He was losing his balance so pulled out his paw to get a stronger hold on the cage. To his shock, the cage started falling, the cat lost his hold, and fell onto the table below it just as the cage landed on him. The impact broke the bottom of the cage, it flew off, hitting the cat; the bird flew out as the rest of the cage fell on the cat, enclosing him in it. He was stunned briefly from the bang on his head and when he came to his senses, he realized his predicament.

To add to his embarrassment, the bird, having landed on top of the cage, was smugly peering down at him. He was singing Bob Dylan’s Positively 4th Street

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time

You could stand inside my shoes

You’d know what a drag it is

To see you.

“So, how does it feel?” He asked as he stopped chirping.

The cat was silent for a few moments, then finally spoke. “Call the police. Call my lawyer.”

“Why?” inquired the bird. “You jumped on my cage. What was your intention?”

The cat rolled his eyes. “I am a cat. It is my nature to chase birds.”

“And what were you planning to do if you caught me?”

The cat simply shrugged his shoulders and replied “play with you a bit, bat you around and then maybe eat you.”

“So you are the one who will be charged with assault, battery, and intent to murder. Maybe I should call the police.” The bird and cat sat still for a few minutes. The cat could not think of a response. Then the bird continued. “The family will be coming home soon. What do you think they would do if you had been successful and found me wounded or dead? It’s obvious they want us both as companions.”

The cat pondered the words of the bird. He’s right, if he injured the bird it might jeopardize his position in the family. But chasing birds is what cats do best. How can they both co-exist in the same house?

“How do you think I feel? I am in a constant state of anxiety, watching you trying to figure out how to get to me. And you feel you must live up to your reputation as a bird-catcher. Is there a way for us to accept our differences and change the relationship?” The bird then made a proposal. “Since the family wants both of us, maybe we could negotiate an arrangement between us. A compromise of sorts. I won’t sing annoying songs and you will cease and desist trying to destroy me. You can chase wild birds outside if you must, but you will leave me alone.”

The cat agreed and was willing to give the plan his best efforts. He tried to stretch his paw to shake on the deal but could not move. The bird then flew to the top of the bookcase and informed the cat he could easily get out of the cage by just standing up. He did, and the cage fell to the floor. Free at last, he stretched and sauntered to the sofa, assuming his usual position. Tempting as it was, he made no effort to jump on the bookcase where the bird sat, humming away.

The family arrive home and found the fallen and broken cage. They figured they had not secured it sufficiently and headed to the pet store to purchase another.

From that day forward the bird and the cat lived harmoniously together, each with a better understanding of the other.