Those Guys Again

All is not sweetness and light around the Backyard Bowl.

We put the food out for the cats, and we don’t particularly begrudge the occasional possum who drops by. They’re generally polite and usually only take a couple of mouthfulls of krunchiez.

Then there are the trash pandas.

They are not polite. They track mud in the water bowl. They empty the bowls and then shove them around looking for more food. And they’re arrogant. The stroll around and give us dirty looks as though they’re the property owners and we’re a bunch of ragged squatters. And the language they use! Well!

So it’s a great day when we catch them off guard and force them to tree themselves.


There was much rejoicing that day.

Meet the Neighbors 04

I’ve said before that everyone is welcome at the backyard bowl as long as they behave themselves. Almost everyone does. Grey Tabby seems to keep the other cats in line, regulars and occasional visitors alike. The possum comes in quietly, eats, and leaves just as quietly.

Then there are these guys.


They’re loud, shove each other around, chase the cats, knock over the watering can, carry off the food bowl, get the water bowl all muddy. Nobody likes the raccoons.

No, let me amend that: they’re very cute. We like to watch them on the rare occasions when they’re being good. But they’re the reason we keep a loaded SuperSoaker next to the window that overlooks the bowls.

Yep, we’ve got weapons–big weapons–and we know how to use them. And the raccoons know that we know. It’s reached the point where all we have to do is open the window and they head for the hills. Of course, when they run they trip over each other, fall down, pop back up, and generally bumble around like windup toys. They’re almost as cute as kittens. Almost.

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.)