The raccoons were gone! Life as I knew it could begin to get back to normal with my cat Spike being the only animal in the house. For months we had been plagued with a family of raccoons who would come into the garage from the outside through Spike's pet door. His cat food was always in jeopardy.
Since raccoons will eat practically anything, everything that produced an aroma was fair game to the raccoons. To call this bunch of free loaders pets, would not be appropriate for they were nothing more than pests! After moving the cat's bowl into the house, an inconvenience for Spike who prefers to eat his dinner in private, I thought the raccoons would get the message and leave. No such luck. Even though there would be no food for them when they sneaked into the garage at night, they seemed to appear more often than before, scratching at boxes or savaging plastic containers trying to find a morsel of food. Through the door to the garage, you could hear them growling and fighting among themselves. They obviously loved playing in the cat litter because it would be scattered throughout the garage each morning.
Spike didn't seem to mind the disturbance each night. He would stretch out on his pillow on the work bench and survey the scene playing out in front of him. He would occasional grumble or give them a raspy meow as they tore up my garage each night. Perhaps I may have aided in prolonging their stay at my house. When they were younger and adorable, I would add more food to Spike's bowl after he had eaten, in hopes they would come around at night and allow me to photograph them.
They didn't seem to mind the flash as long as I kept the food bowl full. Like all babies, little raccoons grow up to be big raccoons. I mean BIG raccoons! My wife thinks the reason they became so huge is due to the vitamin enriched cat food, complete with an assortment of minerals, that they ate each night in my garage as they were growing up.
Maybe that could have had something to do with them hanging around so much. Luckily, as they grew older they all left Spike's garage and let him live alone and in peace. Except one! There was one, whom I named Bandit, I know that's not original but hey, I'm no John Grisham, that continued to visit each night and eat any cat food that Spike had left. He also became irritable if he couldn't find food. He would attempt to chew the lids off food buckets, and if we were cooking anything in the kitchen, he would scratch on the entry door to the house wanting to see what was making that tantalizing smell.
I was beginning to wish I had never taken his picture. When he began scaring my wife with his attempts to enter the house seeking food, I knew I had to get serious about this raccoon. Spike was beginning to get nervous also.
When he was lying in his bed inside the house, I could see his ears perk up when he heard sounds in the garage that was beyond my range of hearing. He would make a weird grumbling sound so softly you could barely hear it. I started calling him the raccoon whisperer. The situation became intolerable one morning when Spike wouldn't get out of his bed in the garage. I attributed his lack of enthusiasm for the day to a hard night of catting around the night before.
I didn't realize he was injured until he arose and tried to walk. He was limping significantly, bleeding from a badly scraped or gnawed left rear paw. Spike must have gotten in the way of the raccoon trying to find something to eat! We took him to the veterinarian and he confirmed that Spike had been injured by another animal. I immediately began to think of all the horrible diseases my cat may have contracted by being chewed on by the raccoon! I wasn't much worried about rabies since Spike had just had his annual shot. Canine distemper is a common virus that kills both dogs and cats, which is spread by raccoons that are infected with the disease.
That one I could worry about! Early in my attempts to rid myself of the raccoon family, I had gotten a trap from the city animal control folks. After two weeks all I had caught was Spike! I decided to try them again while he was laid up recuperating. This time it worked! The very first evening the raccoon entered the trap to get at the can of cat food I had wired to the bottom of the trap. It had taken a little over four months from the time I had started my raccoon eradication project, to when the last of them was gone. Spike has now regained mobility with only a slight limp, but he still perks his ears up at the slightest sound coming from the garage.
Bob Alexander is the author and owner of this article. He is well experienced in outdoor cooking, holiday eating and leisure living. Visit his sites at: http://www.bluemarlinbob.com http://www.homeandgardenbob.com