Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mystery solved. Problem not resolved.

Recently, I have been wondering how our two elderly cats can pack away the amount of food that they do. I fill their bowl when I go to bed, then they beg for more in the morning as if they are ravenous. Additionally, there is always a huge mess in front of the bowls, and the water dish is full of dirt each morning. The cats are hardly getting fat. In fact, they are more lean than I'd like them to be.

The last few days in our house have been quite challenging. I got sick Monday night, and Logan got sick Wednesday morning, just after midnight. Needless to say, I haven't been getting enough rest to get through a regular day, nevermind recover from this bug. I thought last night I might actually catch up on some sleep. Unfortunately, the insomnia set in as it often does, and I ended up on the couch around 2am. This might be a good thing, given how things progressed.

Around 3am, just as I was finally, blessedly dozing off, I heard one of the cats growl, obviously protesting that we had a visitor at the cat bowl. This has happened before, so I turned on the light expecting to shoe away one of the neighbor cats. I even considered the possibility that an opossum had come in for a snack, as I could hear claws tapping as our visitor walked on the wood floor. Imagine my shock when the light went on and I was staring at a racoon. A really big racoon. This guy must have been a good 30-40lbs, and I don't even know how he fits through our cat door. However, he obviously has no problem, and was quite comfortable being there.
When he saw me start to slowly walk toward him, he casually turned around and went back outside. I figured he now knows somebody is up, and wouldn't return. How wrong I was. Not even 10 minutes later he was back, snacking away. At this point I was very concerned. He was outside my bedroom door, so I couldn't go get Fillip. I didn't want to yell to wake Fillip because I didn't want to scare the raccoon. I've heard these animals can be vicious, so wanted to ensure it didn't feel threatened or trapped. Had Fillip walked up behind it, I was terrified it would attack. The kids room was behind me with the door open, and I just kept hoping Logan didn't wake up sick and come out. After all, he had been doing that regularly for 2 nights. So, I slowly started toward the raccoon kind of waving a pillow and telling him "out! Go out!" When I was about 15 ft away, he again casually departed. At this point I closed the kids' bedroom door, and set the cat door to "out only." I didn't want my cats trapped inside if they needed to go out, but I definitely didn't want the raccoon back in! With a sigh of relief and exhaustion, I snuggled back into the couch to finally, possibly get some much needed sleep.
He was back in 5 minutes. Somehow, he has no problem coming through a locked catdoor. I simply couldn't believe it! So, we started the routine all over again. This time though, he was much more brazen. As I slowly advanced on him, with only my pillow for protection, he paused and backed about a foot away from the food bowl. Then, to my amazement, he reached out both paws, scooped up two fistfuls of food, and dropped it on the floor in front of him. Without taking his eyes off of me, he slowly snacked on his little pile, as if mindlessly eating popcorn while engrossed in a movie. I really wasn't sure I could get him to go. However, I must have still been enough of an unknown, and he did reluctantly abandon his little stash and head out.
At this point I barricaded the catdoor, so there was no way he could return. I was pretty skittish the rest of the night. At one point I could hear something walking toward me on the couch and had convinced myself it was back, and angry. I jumped up onto the couch, peeking around the corner to defend myself against our nighttime marauder, when all I saw was our 3 lb cat. Hardly a threat. I fell back asleep around 4:30am-5am. It wasn't until Logan got up at 5:30am needing my help that I understood the potential for disaster. After all, he would move right through the house, not realizing a potentially vicious critter was outside our bedroom, taking advantage of easily attained grub. The catdoor will obviously be sealed tight and barricaded at night going forward. As for our cats, we haven't yet resolved how to give them in and out access. I'm still amazed by how brazen and comfortable this not so little guy was. It does explain how we are going through massive quantities for catfood, and finding a scattered mess each morning, with hungry cats. At least I can anticipate saving money on catfood, now that I know I was supporting at least one extra hungry critter!

1 comment:

stevecooley said...

we've had really good luck keeping out unauthorized critters with the magnetic latch door... highly recommended.