Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Creatures of the night

For a while we had several 'possums that helped our outdoor cats eat their food. I haven't seen them in a while and I think this boy (girl?) probably chased them off. He doesn't look too big here but he is four or five inches taller than the cats. He walks up, walks around so he is in front of the cats and hisses at them. Proving that they have some smarts, the cats run off. A raccoon could probably leave the cats in little pieces if he wanted to. Callie did bop him in the forehead once before she ran off. After that I started putting a separate bowl for the raccoon away from the cat's food because I was afraid he'd hurt them. He's not afraid of me or the camera. One time I opened the front door, stuck the camera almost in his face, and took several flash pictures. He posed for me.

About a week ago I opened the front door. Several things happened all at once.

  1. The two cats jumped off the quarter pipe (skateboarding ramp) at the end of the front walk and ran toward me.

  2. This boy was walking up the front walk and stopped about halfway up to look at me.

  3. I became aware that some round growly monster thing about the size of a bowling ball was right in front of me eating a bowl of cat food and growling loudly. At first glance it seemed hair was stuck out everywhere, making is resemble a demented porcupine.

Unknown growling things freak me out. Remember, it's dark, it's the country, there is only moonlight. I screamed. The growly thing turned to look at me and I realized it was just a young raccoon and that it had been growling over its shoulder at the big raccoon. Small raccoon took off, knocking the cat food and the cat water over. Both cats and both raccoons converged on the same spot in the walkway and diverged, having totally ignored each other.

A couple of nights later my husband saw two little raccoons and the big one in the yard so I guess we are feeding three raccoons now. Or maybe the small raccoon brought his sister to see the screaming woman. I'd like to feed the outdoor cats in the house, but Callie is too feral, and both she and Buddie are extremely aggressive toward my other cats.

Speaking of Buddie, here he is. He showed up a couple of years ago and had apparently been abused. For a long time if we picked up something in the yard he ran off and hid. He was really shy. He's pretty mellow now, except when he's plotting to beat the stuffing out of one of my other cats.

Sunday I noticed that Buddy's paw was extremely swollen. I gave him antibiotics and looked for an abscess. He went to the vet today and had the abscess drained. The vet said he'd been bitten by a snake probably five days ago. Yikes! The swelling was from infection, not poison. He didn't limp or anything until Sunday. He's back home tonight and the swelling is much reduced.

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