Mr. Tom, the semi-feral, half-grown kitten has adapted to a life dependent upon people. He is almost adopted, pending his willingness to submit to the vet. We feed him and protect him as much as we can, as much as he will allow. On a recent evening, he needed us a lot.
I had just fed him, petted him, turned out the light and locked the front door. Walking into the next room, I heard an odd, raspy vocalization from outside. Thinking the cat might be choking, I flipped on the light and opened the door. A huge raccoon looked up from Mr. Tom’s food bowl.
“Scat!” didn’t do a thing so I ran down the hall shouting for reinforcements and fetching the broom. The broom didn’t do much except aggravate him; neither did soapy water in a spray pump. When he stood up and growled, he looked like such a ferocious fiend I retreated behind the storm door.
Our B-B gun was empty so I rushed for a .22 rifle. “Ptwang” at the big guy’s feet made him retreat to the end of the hedges and wait to see if we meant or were capable of harm to such a beautiful, fuzzy face. Mr. Tom dashed to the opposite end, just in case he was next.
Mind you, this was surely the culprit who has been scattering the contents of our trash can and digging inexplicable holes in the mulch. He might even be the reason behind Mr. Tom’s scuff marks a week prior. We still didn’t want him bloody; we only wanted him elsewhere. Feeding him was clearly not going to have the desired result.
That evening I stood guard with the broom while the little cat finished his kibble. I’ve never seen him scarf kitten chow like that!
This gargantuan granddaddy raccoon comes back every night to toss Mr. Tom’s dish around and make a muddy mess playing in his water. He’s smart enough to do it while the house is noisy with conversation, television or music so we haven’t again caught him in the act.
We are taking steps to discourage the raccoon’s nightly visits. There is a bungee cord on our trash can, we don’t feed the cat after dark and I’ve even started bringing in his empty bowl.
Every evening I perform safety checks, flipping on the light to see Mr. Tom and his water bowl. If I catch the raccoon out there, I know better than to charge without a plan, unaided and unarmed.
This pest puts me in mind of other of life’s adversaries who sneak up and take advantage. They are clever and determined. We may never see them, but only the results of their interference. They fight to keep the ground they’ve gained and if we don’t put up a strong offense, they’re going to dominate us. They are ferocious fiends.
*Original photo found at The Woodlands Tamarac, where I also found helpful tips for discouraging the midnight marauder.