I heard the rattling of dishes on the front porch. Since Lou doesn't make noise when he eats, I figured the possum was back–until I looked out the window and saw two enormous raccoons helping themselves to a bit of leftover cat food. They were so huge it took me a minute to figure out what they were. "Well, they're grey, so they aren't skunks. Kind of weirdly shaped for stray cats. Beavers, maybe? Why would we have beavers?"
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I knocked on the window, and they both stood on their hind legs to get a look at me before one descended to the cat food dish–dropping his hands directly into it the better to chow down. The other contemplated jumping up on Lou's bed on the wicker chair next to the door before wandering over toward the cat house. Poor Lou was backed into his house, hissing every time they got too close. (I'm pretty sure Lou would never make it as a country cat.)
I have a set of bells looped over the door knob (leftover Christmas decor that has been on the door for about four years now). They've come in handy in scaring off Al and now the raccoon bandits; I jingle them like a demented elf when I open the door to chase off the local wildlife. Once their furry, striped little butts disappeared, I took in the cat food bowl, stopping long enough to pet Lou and tell him I wouldn't have tried to tangle with them either.
Where's Marlin Perkins when you need him?
Long-time readers may remember Al, a possum who occasionally likes to hang around the Fraudulent Farmstead. I thought he had gone to that great marsupial den in the sky, but either Al or one of his relatives is back and making himself at home on my front porch.
And by the way, he's huge. I'm talking Fireswamp ROUS huge.
I walked onto my porch one night to see Lou sitting on a chair watching Al eat the cat food not three feet away. Today I went out to feed Lou only to find Al curled up in the cat house.
This has to stop. I mean, I have nothing against possums in general, but I draw the line at spending my hard-earned money to feed them cat food, even if it is the Target brand McDonald's of cat food that's about 90 percent fat.
I mentioned Al the possum in an earlier post. You know, the one who likes to hang out in the cat house? I present exhibit A:
I mean, he's kind of cute for what is essentially an overgrown rat, but that doesn't mean I want him hanging out on my porch. I'm taking the cat food in every night, but I'm not sure that's going to do it.
The BF offered to "take care" of Al for me, but his method is maybe a little extreme for me. Plus the powers that be frown on shooting animals inside the city limits. So we'll just see if food management helps convince Al to head elsewhere.
So I've acquired this cat.
Well, actually I've acquired two. The first is, of course, my sweet Kitty (short for Dander-free Kitty the Hypoallergenic Cat). I won't bore you with the details, but I'm allergic to regular cats. Siberian cats do not produce the allergen that makes me sneeze, so I can snuggle Miss Kitty all I want without inducing an allergy attack. My sister found her for me on Petfinder, and I flew her in from Minnesota. Apparently we don't have dander-free cats in Indiana.
Anyway, Kitty is an indoor cat, except when I take her out to stalk around the garden while I weed. She occasionally takes off, but she's 1. chipped, and 2. easily freaked, so it's not too hard to bring her back. The rest of the time she spends watching out various windows, shedding on my pillow, and curling herself around my head while I sleep.
But the cat I recently acquired is a local stray I've named Big Lou. A rambling tom cat, he first came around when I was putting out food for another stray cat (Jack, who often visits during the summer). Once Big Lou figured out that I was a reliable source of food, he chased Jack off and laid claim to my porch as his own personal territory.
He spends at least part of each day curled in the cathouse (yes, I bought a house for a stray cat, I plead momentary insanity), especially early mornings when he knows I'll be bringing out the chow. He runs down to the curb to meet me whenever I pull in so I can love on him. And once or twice he has attempted to enter the house to make himself at home, but I've chased him out.
So given that this is a fairly large cat who still has all his claws and to all appearances a very definite sense of ownership of me, my property, and the food I put out for him, I found this little vignette particularly interesting:
That is the hind end of one of our local squirrels (whom I personally believe run some kind of squirrel mafia). He has just raided Lou's food dish, while Lou is curled up, completely content in his little house.
But even the squirrel is no big deal compared to coming home last night to find in the cat house not Lou, but a big-ass possum. This possum periodically swings by to check out the cat food dish. I call him Al. Al has also been known to take a nap on my wicker porch settee on warm summer evenings.
So my point here is that Big Lou is clearly more of a lover than a fighter.