June 22, 2012

Breakfast: A Wild Time -- Literally

At our house breakfast is a wild time -- literally.

This morning I fed 8 indoor cats, 5 outside cats, and 20 raccoons in age from babies to teens to grandparents. Last night was the same. Huge crowd. With temps in mid to upper 90s it's affecting the wildlife. No food, no water.

Even Danny was here this morning, unusual for him. I'm guessing he and his sidekick Davy are sticking closer than they have in the past.

I spied the brother of the blind baby raccoon Helen this morning. [See Helen's story on right sidebar.] A year ago June was when I grabbed her. Helen's brother, Huck, had a half blind left eye. Well the raccoon Ray and I have been watching walk on his back legs, carrying food to the pool to dunk, is Huck. This morning I shooed him for the umpteenth time off porch where cats were eating, and finally figured out he wanted water to eat with. So I tossed kibble into the pool. He sat in it happily eating the floating kibbles.

YumYum: "He's eating my food. I don't want the food, but I don't want Huck to have it either."
I started supplying the local wildlife with food and water 5 years ago when we had a bad drought that lasted for weeks with no rain and 100+ temperatures. I'd noticed my outside cat's water was yucky every morning, and then I spied a raccoon out at noon, eating leftover kibble and gulping water. I saw more and more clustered along the woodline. I bought a baby pool and scattered dog kibble. And they came, bringing babies and grandparents. I worried my neighbors would freak, but they thought the family was high entertainment, and since the raccoons proved to be an unusually orderly bunch -- few fights, no messes and no ravaging of neighbor's property, everyone seems fine with me feeding the group.


The moms are probably sisters.
Fast forward to this week. Another hot summer -- hot too fast and again no rain in sight. The new babies are now on display and being taught that the lady carrying the bucket means FOOD. Kibble always. Dog biscuits. Sometimes peanut butter sandwiches. Sometimes peanut butter cookies. My neighbors leave assorted raccoon offerings from their leftovers. They got wonderful chocolate chip and white macademia nut cookies the other day from my husband. Danny just about peed his trousers over those.
Danny is the oldest and the sweetest of the bunch.
Danny is old and clearly careworn from surviving among the younger tougher breed that has followed him. I've watched him get pushed aside in the mad dash for the best food. So Danny and I have a secret. He knows, as of last summer, that I always have something extra special for him. And now he has a little sidekick I call Davy, who also is in on the secret. Together they come running for me when I step out, and wait by the porch so I can hand off my secret stash. They turn their backs to the younger turks waiting down by the pools (we now have 2 going) and enjoy while I head off Huck and the others who are curious about what's going on at the porch.

Now we have the babies. I've checked them and everyone's eyes are wide and glossy so I'm thankful to not have a blind raccoon to deal with this summer. I soak the kibble for the babies, but saw the other night one of them had a hard dog biscuit and was gnawing away with determination. He got the job done too, so their...um...milk teeth? are clearly able to do the job.
Babies!
What impresses me about my raccoons is that they aren't a messy bunch. They don't leave critter bombs anywhere on the lawn, or in the pools. The pools become yucky from the mud and grass but otherwise they take their business elsewhere. And for the most part they're civilized and friendly. They also don't bother my cats. I've never had an incident where the cat felt it needed to protect its territory from a raccoon. There is enough food and water, and no one is making a threat against them.
This one cracks me up. Notice how far apart his ears are.

Clearly they trust me not to do harm because I have no fear walking among them, like Snow White wandering among the Dwarfs. All I need are black Mary Jane shoes and a white apron.

3 comments:

  1. You are doing what I've never had the courage to do. you must not have any fear in you. But my neighbors would complain as we are the usual city lot with no woods around us. You are truly a delight to that bunch of wild life. Good for you.

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  2. Kim, you're an angel to those rockies... a true angel! purrs

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  3. Hey there! Nissy here. Ya, I know... usually I'm calling for Herman but today, I'm calling for you! Guess what? You won an award. That's right... an award! Come on over to Nerissa's Life and check it out! purrs

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