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Hanging out with Hedgehogs

by Beverley, Napier, New Zealand


We were enjoying a balmy summer evening on the back porch. Ollie was sitting by the side fence nibbling one of his back toes. I knew that shortly he'd be up on the fence and hurtling along the cat-walk (the walk is nearly complete).

At first the cat didn't even notice a heap of prickles nearby. Then the prickles moved. Ollie sprang into the air and came down with his upended fur expanding him hugely. Spooked cats have a strange way of walking. It's all done sideways in slow motion. The prickles, having felt the ground tremble nearby, wisely kept still.

I have never seen a cat so confused. He stalked around the prickles trying to sniff whatever it was, but it's not easy to try to sniff a load of prickles - and it can be painful. Round one to the hedgehog. You could almost see the thought patterns running through Ollie's head. Perhaps he'd imagined it all. Perhaps the prickles were just prickles. But Ollie never gives up on anything. He was determined to get to the bottom of the situation. He lay down near the prickles and snoozed, with half en eye open. Eventually though, he went to sleep.

Prickles uncurled itself quite suddenly and scarpered across the lawn, lickety-split. It's amazing how fast hedgehogs can move. People think they get squashed on the roads because there are slow. But as soon as a hedgehog senses danger it rolls itself up into a ball - normally a great defence but lethal on the road.

Back to Ollie. Seconds later he opened a casual eye to check on his prize. But not a prickle remained - it's a rare occasion when anything, much less a heap of prickles, can give the cat the slip. Ollie was furious. He tore around in circles nose to the ground like a sniffer dog. He tracked the hedgehog over to a neat opening under the back of the garage. Ollie tried desperately to squeeze himself into the hole but he was too fat. Round two to the hedgehog.

The cat looked devastated and did a lot of yowling. I consoled him. "Never mind, Ollie, Prickles will be back." I was pretty sure Prickles had babies under the garage. What would Ollie do if he met a whole family of prickles - watch this space.

PS. Ted has just started painting the roof and Ollie has climbed up the ladder to join him. That cat really does love painting!


Editor's note:

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