Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Cat Who Danced with a Roadrunner

Today is the day for finding files.  This morning I found a file while looking for another, this afternoon I found another.

"The cat who danced with a roadrunner" comes from Diane Quinn, who tells us one of the adventures she had with her cat Zorro.  To read more of Diane, please visit

Our Ragdoll breed cat, Zorro, is just the sweetest, laid-back guy you would ever want to snuggle with on your bed or have sandpaper lick your hand.  Typical of the breed, he loves his people family more than his Fancy Feast.  (Well, okay, at least I believe we come in a very close second.)  So much has been written about this breed, that when we adopted him at one-year of age, he seemed to lack many typical cat traits.  How many cats do you know that come and greet you at the door?  Or, how many cats do you know that will follow you around the house—all the time?  Perhaps I named him wrong.  Instead of Zorro, he should have been called, “The Shadow.”

About a year after we adopted him, we moved to a location on a hill above a desert golf course with a patio looking over the 9th tee.  We knew that an assortment of wildlife passed by every day, but we were not prepared for the antics of the roadrunner we named, Rocky, who visited us daily. 

We had only been moved in for about a week, when I met Rocky for the first time one morning as he pecked a greeting on one of our French doors.  I was fascinated with this primitive, even scary looking, huge bird fearlessly making himself known.   When I went over to the door to get a closer look at him, he gave me the once-over, just as I was doing the same to him.  When he didn’t run away, I called:  “Zorro, come!” hoping he would come join me at the door.  It must have been the tone of my voice, perhaps tinged with excitement that brought Zorro zooming to a stop beside me.  By this time, Rocky had lost interest in me, and he had jumped on top of our patio table, and was scanning the horizon for movement that might translate into his breakfast.   Zorro could see him, but he had not yet seen Zorro.

My big guy was mesmerized.  His smoky gray, elegant tail was waving furiously as he paced in front of the French doors.  Eventually, Rocky went on to the serious business of lizard hunting. I felt disappointed because I really wanted to see what Rocky’s reaction would be to Zorro.  As luck would have it, I did not have to wait long to find out.

The next morning, there Rocky was again, pecking at the French doors, intense dark eyes trying to see in through the glass.  Again I called, “Zorro, come!”   This time Zorro ran so fast, he overran and actually slid into the glass door.  Suddenly, they were face-to-face.  It was a stare-down of epic proportions.  I could see the curiosity mixing with the caution in their eyes.   Being a smart guy, and unsure of the situation, Zorro sat down to take a load off his paws.  He gave me a look that said, “What IS that thing?”  Even though Zorro was a house cat, he still had the same instincts that every cat before him for a thousand years understood.  He was just not sure what to do about them.

Rocky cocked his head one more time and jumped on top of the table that had become his command post.  A ground bird, I learned that roadrunners often seek height in order to see movement at a distance.  When nothing appeared to be moving, off he went.

This same pattern went on for a week.  Zorro was not quite sure how to react; and Rocky tried to look menacing enough so we wouldn’t venture outside and chase him away.   Then one day something changed.

On this day when Rocky appeared, and when I called, “Zorro, come!” he not only ran over to the window, but threw himself against the glass and began to pound on the glass with his paws.  Rocky reciprocated by jumping back at Zorro on the other side of the glass.  I was watching a boxing match!  They had their own rhythm going and, if music had been playing, it would have been, “Flight of the Bumble Bees,” so comical was their dance.

Eventually, Rocky tired of banging against the glass, and got back to business on top of our table.  He sat there for the longest time that day.  I wondered if he was posturing as any conquering predator would after battle.   Self-satisfied, he proudly perched on his table surveying his territory.

What did my handsome guy, Zorro, do?  He came over to mommy, of course, for lots of praise and head rubs.  He had little idea what had just transpired, but he did know that he had protected his turf too.

Thank goodness, I thought to myself, knowing they would never meet without glass between them.  Because the truth was that Rocky was larger than Zorro, and a very aggressive bird that would not only have scared Zorro to death, but was capable of seriously hurting him with those sharp claws and deadly beak.  These primitive birds survive in the harshest climate in North America, and for a good reason.

But, Zorro didn’t have to know the truth.  He just needed to know that mommy was proud of him, as she reached in the cupboard for his favorite treat.

 “Good boy,” I murmured, stroking his head in the way he preferred.  “Good boy.”


  1. Nice story. Gracie also greets me by the door and follows me around - even into the shower - but let's not tell this to Zorro.

  2. In the shower Alex! Gracie likes to get wet?

  3. Zoe is also a bathroom groupie. There are times I wonder, "Is there anyplace I can be alone?" (Apparently not.) Yet, I wouldn't have it any other way.

  4. Well, not totally wet, she sits in the corner, but yes - she does get damp.

  5. That is so unusual. All of mine hate water.