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Duncan and the Diabolical Genius

Sometimes Duncan seems like his perfectly normal old self, hopping in the car to go for a ride to the donut shop, catching a mouse or having a 17-hour nap punctuated by occasional stretches, yawns and visits to the food bowl. But then he’ll wake up and decide he cannot rest until he catches Oboe the Lovebird.

Oboe is a diabolical genius. He’s a pain in the ass to everybody – Duncan, Simon, Kazoo, me, GC – but there’s method to his madness. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. He tailors his methods to each of us individually.

Months ago, when Oboe moved down to the living room, he knew Duncan wanted to catch him, so he made him try, over and over again, constantly for weeks. Oboe would dive bomb him or swoop within easy swiping distance. Sometimes he even did a hummingbird hover about a foot over Duncan’s head. But as soon as Duncan would rise to the bait, Oboe would turn on the afterburners and be gone. Eventually Duncan gave up and didn’t even try anymore.

Anyway. I guess Duncan needs to be retrained, because he has recently redoubled his efforts to catch Oboe.

He mostly tries when Oboe is out of the cage, flying freely around the house, which is two or three hours each day. Here’s a typical scenario. I’m on the couch with my laptop, and Oboe is snuggled under my chin, trying to groom my freckles or something. (He’s always busy. Always doing something.) Duncan will come and snuggle up against me, acting all sleepy and disinterested. He won’t even look at Oboe. He’ll pretend to be asleep. Ten minutes will pass, and I’ll even forget that Duncan is there. And then, all of a sudden, out of the clear blue sky, Duncan’s paw will slice through the air, and impale the space where Oboe was just a fraction of a second earlier. Duncan’s fast, and he’s got the element of surprise on his side – but Oboe’s just a wee bit faster and he’s got the element of eternal vigilance on his side.

Oboe and his love object (see Duncan below)

Oboe and his love object (see Duncan below)

Duncan also tries to catch Oboe when he’s in his house. Oboe has a love object hanging on the inside of his house. It’s a stringy white toy with some colourful rubbery bits, and he feeds it and has sex with it regularly. Duncan knows the sound of lovebird love – it’s a rhythmic bedspring-type noise. He knows Oboe will be in the cage but distracted and reachable from outside. So he’ll creep over there, and then leap up from below and try to skewer Oboe with his claws. If I’m watching, I’ll shout out a warning to Oboe, but sometimes it catches me by surprise too.

So far Duncan hasn’t managed to catch him, but they’ve had some interesting tussles through the bars of the cage.

I’m still rooting for Oboe, but I think GC, Simon and Kazoo are all rooting for Duncan.

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