It was about 3 o’clock in the morning that I woke up to the sound of a fox in the street outside.
The noise it made was not like those spine-chilling shrieks of their mating call but a cross somewhat between a bark and a growl. The noise persisted.
I climbed out of bed, pulled back a section of curtain, and raised slats on a Venetian blind to look out.
Outside, a fox was directing its gaze at something and making this noise. It was agitated.
The fox was at the edge of the road pointing at a cat, no more than a metre away from it. I had not even seen this cat, as its colour was (as in camouflage) much the same as the wet pavement on which it sat. I later saw that the animal had white legs.
The cat sat on its haunches and, as the fox tried to grab it in his jaws, a quick swish of bared claws soon sent Renard in reverse.
This sparring lasted for some time, until the cat rose from its sitting position and rushed at the fox – which retreated post haste.
The next phase was the cat chasing the fox and the fox chasing the cat, with no result but with the fox continuing its intimidatory noises.
When the cat was chasing and threatening the fox, it raised its tail and swished it from side to side.
Had the cat been frightened of the fox it could so easily have climbed a garden wall or tree and been safe. But it didn’t.
There could have been no territorial dispute, so it must have been that the fox wanted to kill the cat – for its own or cubs’ food.
After all these high jinx, the cat ran to beneath a Land Rover car to find superior fighting ground.
The fox circumnavigated the Land Rover several times, sometimes poking its nose under the chassis – only to withdraw it very smartly.
Finally, the fox gave up the chase and trotted off down the road – hungry. It had learned something about cats. And so had I.