Go here. Read some columns. Read a few more. Laugh. Read the piece for today and think of me.
Like Jon Carroll, I am dealing with raccoons. Dealing with raccoons is like scrubbing the toilet. You do it, you think you’re home free, then you start getting those tell-tale signs that you’re going to have to do it all over again. In fact, as Carroll points out, dealing with raccoons has a cause-effect correlation with scrubbing the toilet.
My cats expect twenty-four/seven, indoor/outdoor access. Now, if I lived in a bigger home, perhaps for their safety and my peace of mind I could fight them on this. But I live in a loft-like, two-level home that has no interior doors (except for the bathroom). I cannot shut the bedroom door and leave the unhappy cats on the other side of it to complain out of earshot about my trampling on their individual liberties and their burgeoning sense of claustrophobia. If the cats aren’t happy, I have nowhere to hide from them.
Each cat has a particular I-want-to-go-out-now-and-I-don’t-care-what-hour-it-is routine.
Bea’s technique goes like this:
1. Climb onto the dresser.
2. Jump from the dresser onto the bed.
3. Jump off the bed.
4. Dash downstairs, then check if the staff (aka me) is following to open the front door.
5. If the desired result is not achieved, repeat steps 1-4 as necessary.
Here’s Sparky’s variation:
2. Chirp some more.
3. Keep chirping.
4. While chirping, knock something off the dresser.
5. If the desired result is not achieved, repeat step 4 as necessary, moving to progressively larger items.
So I’ve set things up to let the cats come and go as they please.
Unfortunately, raccoons are about the same size as cats and probably even more intelligent. So we have a few happy weeks during which Bea and Sparky come and go as they please and I get some uninterrupted REM sleep.
Then the raccoons (re)discover my home. “Look! The ‘in’ is open!,” they chatter to one another, after which they race upstairs and start chomping down kibble as fast as they can. At some point the prolonged crunching drags me from my sleepâ€”the only way Bea or Sparky would be eating that much is if they’d received puncture wounds in their little bellies and the food was falling straight out again.
I turn on the light. The raccoons shout “Cheeze it!” and run willy-nilly for the escape hatch. I wait a few moments to allow them a graceful exit, then close up the cat access as Bea and Sparky come out of hiding and sniff at raccoonly traces that I am too uncivilized to appreciate.
Sometimes Bea and Sparky are traumatized enough that they don’t even bug me about the twenty-four/seven, indoor/outdoor thing for a day or two. But then the raccoons fade from memory and we’re back to our two sets of steps 1-5 as outlined above.
If I’m really lucky, those few days of limited access get the raccoons to cross me off their route, but then access is restored and sooner or later the raccoons figure out that I’m back in business andâ€”whee!â€”we’re at it again.
Right now, we’re at one of those points where the raccoons have rediscovered the all-night kibble palace that is my home and Bea and Sparky are refusing to give up on 1-5. Maybe it’s time to try shutting the one door I do have and sleeping in the tub.
P.S. The Mason-Dixon washrag with self-striping yarn? Gorgeous! Pics soon.