This Best of Bogue column originally was published Dec. 31, 2008
Dear Gary: My husband and I have two indoor cats, a ragdoll and a silverpoint Siamese.
We take them outside with us to our back deck, only when they have been secured in a tunnellike net structure that I purchased out of a pet supply catalog.
Our home is alarmed. When the back sliding door leading to the deck is opened, an alarm voice comes on that says, "The back door is open."
We think it is pretty funny that both cats can be asleep anywhere in the house, and as soon as they hear "the back door is open, "they come running.
They each enter their own separate net cage and lay down, awaiting to get zipped in to go outside.
Also, in regard to the ability of a cat to talk: My friend, Barbara T., says her cat used to cry out "Nooooooo, nooooooo," when they were on the way to the veterinarian.
Thank you for your fun column.
Angela and Mike
DEAR ANGELA and MIKE: I have this dry little voice in my car that tells me "the radio is on" when I ask it to turn on the radio.
I call it Hal.
It would be kind of neat to have a voice like that in the guest bathroom that says, "The toilet has not been flushed" when the bathroom door is opened.
DEAR GARY: Well, I finally got my chance to be a tree.
I went outside to get our hummingbird feeder yesterday and a hummingbird came up to me as if to say, "I want one more drink first."
I froze there holding up the hummingbird's feeder while trying to tap lightly on the window for my wife to come see this.
He just drank and drank.
After I came back inside, my wife said how funny it looked to see a "frozen" man holding up a bird feeder and trying not to move.
But, all's well that ends well. The feeder was refilled and put back outside.
Mary and Vito
DEAR GARY: We have an overweight lop-eared rabbit and a wonderful 18-year-old Maine coon cat, so my alarm was for them when I saw a hawk with a square head and very dilated pupils. I am only aware of a yellow ring around his pupils, and the brown and tan speckled feathers on his breast.
The hawk swooped down but we intervened and got Thumper Rabbit back into his cage rather quickly. Is this a likely place for these hawks to hang out for very long?
DEAR MARIE: It sounds like a Cooper's hawk, especially the swooping down at your bunny.
Adult "Coops" have bright red eyes around the dark pupil. The yellow eyes on your bird suggest it's immature, probably a teenager that was hatched last spring.
The Bay Area is a crossroads in the flight paths of birds migrating north and south, and it's very common for Cooper's hawks and sharp-shinned hawks to pass through this time of year. They usually hang around to raid the bird feeders for a day or a couple of weeks to refuel, and then move on.
I wouldn't let Thumper out of his bomb shelter without an escort until you're sure the bird has moved on
Cooper's can be quite aggressive and could cause a lot of damage.
Gary Bogue has retired after 42 years of writing this column. If you have animal-related questions, contact Joan Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org; or P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.