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January 27, 2021

A Different Kind of Cat Behavior Consultation

Often during, before and after doing cat behavior consultations, I have unexpected encounters with animals of other species. Last year I had a number of awe-inspiring experiences with Bobcats, Asian Leopard Cats, African Servals, Coyotes one Mountain Lion, chickens and a number of reptiles. I can now add Turkey to the list. This experience—maybe not so awe-inspiring.

Saturday I was scheduled to do an on-site cat behavior consultation that revolved around a couple of cats who had severe litter box issues. I was early for the consultation. I am always early… Anyway, since I had time to kill, I checked out the neighborhood. I enjoy checking out neighborhoods—looking at houses & gardens. I am partial to really old homes and contemporary houses. As I was slowly driving up a hill, admiring the homes, a wild turkey sauntered off of the sidewalk and positioned himself in front of my car. Please keep in mind… I’m a suburbanite girl and I was in a suburban neighborhood. It’s not every day I see a wild turkey.

Also, keep in mind that I am not versed in Turkey Speak.

A turkey standing in front of my car or any car is not a good thing. I stopped my car and got out, with the intention of herding the turkey out of the street to a safer area. He didn’t want any part of it. He was making all sorts of cute little trills and chirps… very endearing and sweet. I chortled back at him… maybe this wasn’t the best idea… he answered me back and I think I became his person.

I couldn’t herd him out of the street—he stood his ground and approached me. I turned back towards my car—he followed me and attempted to hop in—kind of like a dog. Neighbors came out to watch the spectacle… one person told me he is a wild turkey, not domesticated. I carefully got out of my car again and started walking away. He rushed towards me … so I retreated, up on the sidewalk. I called my client and told her that I was going to be delayed since a turkey was resource guarding my car. Great entertainment for the neighbors… lots of giggling. One of the neighbors suggested I give him the keys to my car and maybe my phone number…

Finally someone took pity on me and ran interference so that I could return to my car and make my escape.