November 22nd, 2005


The Last Stand of the Ashcan Bandido

It was adorable when the li'l raccoon was on our back patio eating popcorn last night.

It was cute -- but a little disconcerting -- when it was still on our back patio, dozing curled up in a fuzzy ball this morning.

But it was sad and creepy and queasy to see it moving around in a trundling lurch, clearly not well. So we called animal control and a guy came and efficiently snatched it up with one of those adjustable poles with the loop at the end, and Rocky Raccoon made outraged whirring sounds in protest. (One of those sticks would come in handy when Sweetness goes nutzoid in public -- which, thankfully, isn't often.) The animal catcher said that it probably had distemper -- I didn't really wanted to know what he was going to do with it.

The funny thing is that a raccoon apparently lived on our back patio for at least 15 hours, and our two cats were OBLIVIOUS. When they want to come in they'll go out there and yowl for our attention if we're in the kitchen, and when they've seen critters in the past while inside looking up, they put the "cat" in "caterwauling." Even though they spent a huge chunk of last night outdoors (I know it was cold, but hey, it was *their* idea), they were apparently none the wiser.

We have two orange tabbies named Lou and Lyle. Lyle has a long tail and is more shy and mellow; Lou is a nub-tailed, stocky manx and is more vocal. (Lou's always been very attached and possessive about *me,* for some reason.) If he's hungry or impatient to be let outside, Lou typically projects his voice with a series of resonant, smoke-alarm meows, that would translate as something like, "Hey, Holman! My food bowl's not gonna fill itself, you know. I'm talking to you!" or "What are you doing lying there in the dark when I'm ready to go outside, Holman?"
To goudabonbon his remarks are probably more along the lines of "Hey, Holman's wife! Tell him the water bowl's getting empty. And make it snappy!"

But often when I'm reading or writing he likes to curl up on my lap, tucking his legs under for maximum warmth so he looks like a chicken in a nest ("Hen cat" we call him at such times). As long as he's purring, I'm inclined to cut him some slack.