Procyonid Prejudice

How impolite and politically incorrect can you get?

KOMO TV (Seattle) has posted this video on their website. You may have seen the original video posted elsewhere; KOMO’s take on it is, IMNSHO, highly offensive.

They imply that raccoons are lowly thieves, just waiting for an opportunity to make off with whatever food they can get their paws on. Consequently, they say, you should never leave food out for your cats because it only encourages the raccoons villainy.

Um, a couple of points here.

First, raccoons are no more inclined to theft than cats. Anyone who shares a house with a cat can share stories of their furry companion sneaking onto the counter or table and making off with the turkey, roast beef, corn bread, or lemon cake. So let’s not demonize the raccoons, OK?

Second, what are those cats doing outside anyway? It’s well-established that indoor-only cats live longer and stay healthier than outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats. Keep them inside and feed them inside. Not only will they not have to compete with the raccoons, but you can eat the cats’ food yourself when they run off with your dinner.

Third, I don’t see anything in the video that even suggests that that’s a “cats only” bowl. I won’t get into the ugly side of such species-ist “separate but equal” treatment here (though I’ll note that our outside bowl welcomes all visitors, be they feline, procyonid, didelphimorphine, or even galliform (no, not gallifreyan–not that we would turn one away, but we suspect they’d be more likely to knock on the front door and ask for tea). If you insist that the food be reserved for the cats, then mark it as such. Good luck keeping the other-species activists on the outside of the red velvet ropes, though, unless you hire a bouncer.

Fourth and finally, note that the raccoon is willing to share. She takes a handful (pardon me, “pawful”) of food for herself and carries it over to the other side of the carport to eat. Do you see the cats being so considerate? No. Come to that, have you ever seen a cat being that considerate? I certainly haven’t. Note that in this morning’s post ‘Nuki and Yuki are eating from separate bowls. Over and over again, we see the members of our group try to monopolize the food bowl, only sharing when they’re bodily shoved away.

Now consider: is the raccoon’s behaviour that of the mindless thug portrayed by KOMO TV? I think not.

(One final note, if only to protect me from liability: don’t try to pat or hand-feed the raccoons that show up at your bowl. They may not be the evil-minded monsters KOMO portrays them as, but they are wild animals, and they do have strong jaws, sharp teeth, and sharp claws. Knowing they’ll wash your hand before eating it is likely to be of limited consolation.)