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Procession in the night

06/19/2012 @ 8:27am

There are things I can do.

And there are things I cannot do.

I wrote last week about some troubles I’m having with our cats.  And, quite frankly, I don’t believe I received as much sympathy from my readers as I really deserve, but I’m going to let that go.  I have bigger problems now.

I don’t really believe in taking care of cats; it just encourages them to think of me as their servant.  We keep a big bag of the cheapest possible cat food out in the shop, and every now and then I pour some into a bowl.  It’s a method that keeps the cats nervous and grateful, which is the way I like it.  

Lately I’ve noticed that the cats are even more nervous than usual and they’ve been eating more and more cat food.  One day when I went out, not only was the cat food in the bowl gone, but the cat food bag was ripped open and empty.  

I said, “You pigs,” and went about my day.  I’m always willing to think the worst of a herd of cats and they seldom let me down.  But in the afternoon I was walking by carrying an armful of tools and noticed that the water bowl was half empty and very muddy.

I sighed. It looked to me like raccoon work.  Our cats are fairly worthless, but they don’t walk in their drinking water, and they certainly don’t wash their food before they eat.

But raccoons do.  

Now, I’m not thrilled about feeding a herd of cats, but I draw the line at feeding a herd of cats AND a flock of raccoons.  

That night after I fed the cats, I shut the doors of the shop and put the cat food in a plastic tub with a lid on it.

In the morning, the cat food bowl was empty and the tub was tipped over.  The next night I put the cat food in the tub, put a lid on it, and put a bag of sidewalk salt on top.  That worked for about a week, but then one day the bag of salt was tipped off the tub and the lid was askew.

I decided it was time for a pep talk.  “C’mon,” I said, “there are six of you!  You should be able to handle a raccoon!”

Remember, not so long ago, when I wrote about this?  I’m still irate.  I started locking the cats up in the shed at night and that didn’t help.

Tonight I found out why.  

I walked into the shed, whistling a happy tune, flipped on the lights and saw a mother raccoon followed by six babies crawling up a two by six leaning against a pile of firewood, and one by one they disappeared into the pile. The last one slipped about four times and tumbled to the floor, finally scurrying out of sight.

I’ve spent the last month locking the raccoons in with the cat food. Every night.

And the stupid cats never said a word.  

Here’s the thing.  I’ve never had a problem doing battle with raccoons. I’m not really the type for a coonskin cap, but if I were, I could have an assortment of them.  Intellectually I know that a baby raccoon will soon be a grown up raccoon and will be eating the cat food and emptying pheasant nests, but…have you ever seen a baby raccoon?

I guess I’ll be keeping the cat food in the house.

Copyright 2011 Brent Olson

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