Uninvited Guests

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:
1. Chirp.
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 sleep—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 and—whee!—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.

August 09 2007 05:01 pm | Cats

3 Responses to “Uninvited Guests”

  1. Marcia Louise on 10 Aug 2007 at 5:04 am #

    I can hardly wait for pics on the ball-band dishcloth. It is one of my favorite patterns. I did a Knitta-please piece for my home, complete with a signed tag on it for an ugly pole at the top of the stairs. I used two mitered blocks and trimmed it in ball-band (for “molding”). At the very top of the pole, I did two rows of ball-band, added a button and used it to trim out the top. It made me consider for a moment, knitting molding for the whole house……only for a moment, mind you.

    Back to the TAG….thanks for your wise input. Marcia Louise

  2. xtina on 10 Aug 2007 at 7:53 am #

    I also have a knee-jerk reaction to raccoons, but that is due to the fact that a few months back one crawled in through our cat door, found a spot in our crawlspace and gave birth to her litter there. Then proceeded to protect them to the point of attacking one our our kitties (it was bad). So now I overreact, but since I like to be solution-oriented…there’s a raccoon proof cat door you can get with matching magnetic collars that will allow your kitties to go in and out as they please but will keep out the unwanted. Meanwhile, we’ve taken to putting away cat food in the evenings, to keep the scent of kibble to a minimum. Nonetheless, good luck!

  3. lella on 10 Aug 2007 at 9:29 pm #

    I can sure understand this routine with cats and raccoons because me daughters have similar tales of coons and cats from Central. It may not be news, but Raccoons to the South of you are big and aggressive. We built a large, fully enclosed dog run out of wood and chicken wire to protect our little 5 pound dog. He is dumb enough to attack anything, no matter how big it is, if it’s in his territory. Hope that your kitties will get the BIG picture someday soon, and let you have some peace, and peace of mind, too.

    The beautiful dishcloth arrived, and the colors are perfect. =o) Piccies in the morning.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply