Thursday, August 30, 2012

Raccoon Whisperer

Once upon a time, I was newly married and living in my very first house of my own. I was alone because my ex-husband was in the Air Force and had been assigned a three month tour in Alaska so I was winging it. My sister and I took on many DIY projects and were victorious in pretty much all of them. Things were going swimmingly until the horrible day I decided to let my indoor cats hang out in my yard for a few minutes unsupervised. I lived on 300 acres of wildlife reserve so to say I had a huge yard was an understatement.

However, it wasn't huge enough apparently and the cats were somehow drawn to the road out front leading to one of my beloved babies being murdered by some piece of scum who didn't even slow down. Granted, I shouldn't have left them alone and I feel it is 99% my fault. But that 1% is nothing to sneeze at and if I had the chance to face that driver you'd best believe it would get ugly. Fast.
About two weeks later a tiny, calico kitten appeared in my was kind of strange. She spent a lot of time hanging out around Harley's gravestone. I noticed her playing near it several times. The first time I noticed her was, in fact, near the gravestone (yes, a real inscribed stone laid flat in the ground don't judge.) The very next day the tiger lily edging it bloomed completely. You know I totally believe in signs and the universe and karma right? Well, now you do. I decided this kitten was meant to be mine and I would totally be able to woo her and make her mine.
The kitten did not receive that memo. She proved to be impossible to catch but she came out and hung around me every time I went outside all summer long. Cooking on the grill? Kitten time. Hanging out reading? Kitten. Mowing the lawn? Front row seat. You could just tell she wanted love so badly but was too scared to take the leap to let me pet her or pick her up. Her specialty was remaining just out of reach. I could get within a foot of her before she'd run away. We developed our own little language where I would copy her little "Meep! Meeep!" and make my own meeps when I was outside. I seriously treated this project like my summer job, dedicating hours almost every day.
A month and a half later, mid-August, slowly losing hope but still feeding her daily, I started to question if she would ever be an in-house kitty. A new problem was that raccoons had figured out there was delicious kitty food to be had at the buffet (aka my pool shed).
I adjusted the feeding schedule to just during the day to avoid kitten being eaten by raccoons.
With Labor Day looming I began to grow more bold in my efforts. One night I stood outside with my friend Emily holding pool skimmers as nets. Kitten was meeping,  I was meeping, Emily was ready to pounce with the skimmer for at least an hour. I thought our teamwork was absolutely going to bring my success.
Um, an hour outside meeping in an area known to have yummy kitty food in it did not end as planned. While I had my back to the yard and meeped my heart out, I saw Emily freeze, skimmer held aloft.
"Stop Don't make another noise" said Emily. "You are surrounded."
"Turn around, the raccoons have answered your call."
Totally not believing her, I turned around ready to see nothing but my dark yard. However, she was telling the truth. There was a pack of baby raccoons (baby ones! squee!) running my way making the exact same sounds I had been making all night. There were at least five of them and although what I really wanted to do was pet them and snuggle them, Emily (shockingly) was not down with that. She charged them with the pool skimmer held out like some sort of shield device and ran into the house, dragging me inside with her. I'm pretty sure there was a lecture regarding why petting baby raccoons is not okay and also why we had to give up on the kitten quest for the evening. Because you know, mommy raccoons are probably not as nice as baby ones.

Like you wouldn't want to snuggle with these guys? Puh-leeze

Although I deeply enjoyed by my wildlife experience I gave up. For that night at least. Later that week, I was hanging out with my Uncle Kenny. He had been my savior that summer turning my pool from a horrible swamp filled with tadpoles and opaque brown/green water into a sparkling blue lagoon. He had also been with me in my attempts at capture. He suggested that instead of chasing the kitten, maybe I should lure her into my mudroom with food. Just leave a plate of kitty food (during the day, no raccoons allowed in the house) and watch the mudroom.
Zoe all grown up!
After nearly three months of meeping and hunting kitten she was caught in approximately 30 minutes with virtually zero effort on my part. Of course.
Anyway, that's how I went from two cats to three again. Well, actually four because in a moment of hopelessness that I would ever catch outside kitten, I adopted another one from the Humane Society.

Yes. a weirdo. But I'm surrounded by fuzzy kitty snuggletons! 

No comments:

Post a Comment