• The common frog or Rana Temporaria – and he lives in my pond!

I have a secret passion… (no, not Justin Bieber) I am fascinated by amphibians. It began at an early age, I think I was about four, and we had a little pond in the garden. It was a beautiful summer’s day, as indeed they all seem to be when you are young, and I was sat by the side of the pond, with my black cat Snoopy, watching the comings and goings of the bees on the lavender bush. Suddenly, a slow crawling movement caught my eye. I turned to look, and a magical, mythical creature hauled itself onto a flat rock. It was marvellous! Smooth, dark shiny sides with a go-faster stripe of vivid red, and a leathery frill gracing the top of its back all the way down to the tapered tip of its tail.

This wonderful tiny monster turned to look at me imperiously, out of golden eyes. The cat, bemused by my interest in this thing, reached out a paw to poke it and at once it slipped away into the weed festooned depths of our little pond.

Mummy! MUMMY! There’s a dragon in the pond!” I ran inside, breathless with excitement at the fact a creature from storybooks was living in our pond. The cat followed me in, muttering under his breath:

Stupid child! It’s a small slimy mouse!”

I now know that it was in fact a Great Crested Newt, but so began my fondness and fascination with the amphibian world.

I had a Ladybird book, I think it was: ‘The Princess and The Frog’ – forget the stupid princess, I loved the pictures of the frog, beautifully detailed in shades of green with golden eyes and amazing webbed feet. Every time we went to the pet shop I would press my nose against the glass tanks where frogs sat complacently within, gulping happily to themselves. Toads were just as entrancing, with their delicate warty skin like brown currant buns. Tropical frogs amaze me, little enamelled pieces of jewellery made live.

My partner loves fish, consequently we have always had a pond. I was overjoyed when our first frogs moved in.

Well, as long as the rent’s reasonable, we’ll give it a trial? Six months…”

WP_20160526_11_13_54_Pro (2)

Best keyring ever! – sitting on a chunk of Green Calcite, a mental healer which helps restore balance to the mind…

I love to hear them croaking on summers’ evenings, challenging each other to frogly duels for the hand of the frog princess… I watch anxiously as the tadpoles wriggle from their jelly bags and applaud their progress as they develop tiny arms and legs. Double joy when I recently discovered we have breeding toads as well, beaming amiably at me as I inadvertently interrupted them in toadish congress as I was clearing some dead leaves. I was poking around on WordPress and I found a wonderful blog The Frog Lady, she recently completed a challenge, a frog for every letter of the alphabet – what an achievement! – and also offers practical advice on caring for your own frogs.

My cats find as much enjoyment out of frogs as I do… although perhaps in different ways… Once, my old cat found one and brought it into the house where he left it in the hall. I was first up in the morning and I thought I was perhaps hallucinating, as a large and rather annoyed frog hopped slowly towards me:

If you’ll just point me in the right direction, I’ll let myself out, but really, let your cat know I’ll be asking for compensation next time…” My current girls have made the discovery that if they tap the frog with a paw, it will emit a high pitched squeak. Of course I ensure that no frog is distressed by my cats’ attention, there are plenty of froggy hiding places out of the reach of questing feline paws. Also, frogs secrete an unpleasant tasting mucus that deters predators. Now, apart from the occasional crossing of paths, my cats and frogs leave each other alone, apart from the expected pleasantries.

Morning girls, looking lovely…”

Ooh, he’s a saucy one, that frog!”

WP_20150731_12_41_38_Pro (3)Ting Tong enjoying the sunshine

To me then, there is nothing more pleasant on a summer’s evening than to sit outside with a cup of tea and my cats, watching the dragonflies dancing across the pond’s surface and listening to my frog orchestra.

All photos were taken by my son!

17 thoughts on “Cats and Frogs

  1. Aw I LOVED reading this post – was drawn to it because cats and frogs are two of my favourite creatures (l like lizards too) .
    Ting Tong is stunning and beautifully captured in your Son’s photo!
    Our old cat Sam used to look at the frogs in our garden with utter disdain ….perhaps he tried to eat one once and decide they’re gross.. 😉
    The story of seeing your first great crested newt was absolutely charming……… brought to mind the first time I took Nikki to the zoo, she was in total awe of the elephants ….she still loves them 🙂
    I love the information you provide about healing stones in your posts too…..thank you for this – it’s made me smile broadly!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes! I love lizards too! When I was a little girl my mother took me to Italy on holiday…think she got a bit annoyed because all I wanted to do was stay in the hotel garden and watch the lizards…Thank you for reading and your comment, so pleased you enjoyed it! : )

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think our garden would fit a pond big enough for a German Shepherd to sit in! One of our cats, Ulysses, likes water, we’ve got a fountain that he stares at for ages…he also watches our snakes George and Alex all the time. Which possibly means he would love a pond with frogs (and he’s not a hunter, unlike my other cat).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You have snakes! I love snakes! They feel like warm, living rope! Don’t think my partner would be too happy about it… Lily, our little black cat, is the best hunter and mice are flavour of the month at the moment. I really wish she wouldn’t…

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      3. I love my snakes, though they were originally my husband’s (I don’t think they are meant to be pets). I guess Alex The Snake is more mine now- we share much more than just the name: great personality and all that 😉 I have two zebra finches too (unplanned, we’ve found Pip and nobody’s claimed him, so we got him a companion: Poppy) so I get quite distressed when I have to clear out dead birds Charlie leaves for me…Ulysses doesn’t hunt, he’s a pacifist (and he’s scared of birds). I used to have a black cat (a girl, too) and would love another one, but my resident cats are a bit too territorial 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I laughed when I read this! My son is another Alex, so I have to agree great personalities! We also found his budgie when we were out with the dogs-how do the poor little things escape?-and as the budgie narrowly missed being eaten we called him Lucky. So far this year no dead birds, just two different species of mouse…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Well, Alex is the best name for someone with great personality, sense of humour, amazing intellect, good looks and a body of a god(ess)…we have a nephew called Alex, so I insist on being called Alex the Great – my nephew is really tall, so he doesn’t need an ego-boosting addition to his name (I’m 5’2”)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved reading this post, especially the way you describe each frog. My sister’s favorite animal is also the frog and she has a collection of frog things and she got some fire-bellied toads as pets when we were younger. They are fascinating, but my favorite animal is the polar bear. 🙂 Also, your cat is beautiful!


  4. Thank you- her other job is a super model..the toads sound interesting, I shall have to have a look at those! Hmm… polar bears, I can see why you like them, the babies are adorable and it’s quite interesting that they actually have black skin. Thank you for reading and commenting, as always much appreciated!


  5. You’d probably get on well with the Lady of my online cartoon who prefers a talking frog to a prince… WordPress suggested this post to me, probably based on the tags, so I ended here by coincidence. Reading this did put a smile on my face.

    Liked by 3 people

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