A day after Patches gifted us with the live rat on Thursday (who died the next morning), Jiggy bestowed upon me a dead yellow-rumped warbler, and I knew the cute little critter’s untimely demise was all my fault.

See, with a large planter pan about a year ago or so I established a bird bath next to our fabled “Coyote Corner” section of our frontyard. The bath proved popular among the local avian set, but also problematic. The trouble was the tray sat on a low metal cocktail table whose height made it advantageous for our more motivated felines (namely Jiggy, Pepper and Patches) to pick off any feathered friends from below.

Fortunately for the birds and unfortunately for our crew of cats, on one of our walks with Ranger last week we found a beat-up if still perfectly functional small ladder that had been left on the corner down the block from us, and I dutifully carried it home. Not that we needed a ladder (we have four of various sizes), but it had character and I had the sense it could be put to some as-yet-to-be determined alternative use.

Yesterday it was.  By screwing the planter pan to the top of the ladder (with a rubber washer to minimize any leakage) and decorating its steps with various weatherworn chochtkees and a couple cacti to act as cat barriers, the birds can now bathe with less chance of being catnapped.