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For weeks the cat sat patiently on the rocks, listening, watching, pouncing and catching – nothing! Sporting a neon collar adorned with bell and name-tag he noisily roamed the garden. The birds scolding from the safety of the trees; we felt quite smug. Then I did a foolish thing, I bought a little mouse toy with a feathered tail. Even as he was presented with it I could here the sound of pennies dropping.

The following day he rushed up to the kitchen door and presented a tiny mouse, later another tiny mouse, later on a shrew… OK you got this hunting thing! But then he caught a swallow, come all this way just to get eaten by a cat?

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So trawling the internet we see someone has made cat scrunchies, bright, gaudy, huge ruffs; we’ll give it a try. Seemed to do the trick, all the birds saw him coming, seemed they would almost fall off their perch laughing. So now noisy, gaudy, surely the birds will be safe now?

Alas no, it might work for the adults but not fledglings. One unhappy cat confined to quarters until the babies fly…

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