Home With The Wild Animals #socs

I’m sure I’ve told the story about when I was in high school and we had a family of raccoons breaking into our garbage every night. Turns out the lady next door was feeding them, and they went out of town and forgot to make arrangements to feed them. The next time they went out of town, the lady gave us bags of garbage they would eat and asked us to feed them. We were happy to do it because it was nasty having top clean up after them.

When we moved to Atlanta, we had stairs leading up to the back deck, and occasionally a neighborhood cat named Blackie would come up and look in the back door, wanting food. We would fill a bowl and leave it out there for him. Then this old orange tabby that we called Ollie (he looked like our cat Larry, so we called him Outside Larry, Ollie for short) was coming up and eating (and chasing Blackie off). Ollie must have been feral, because whenever we’d come out to fill the bowl or just hang out on the deck, he’d run down the stairs and look up at us like he was scared. I knew we were getting somewhere with him when he would sit on the first step down while we sat on the deck. Just when we thought he would let us pet him, he disappeared.

He was more or less replaced by a gray tabby with a white spot on her mouth that I named Mouthwash, because of the white spot on her mouth, and the fact that she looked a little green in the right light, and the fact that I’m out of my tiny little mind. She was obviously someone else’s cat, although she spent a lot of time near our house, and on cold nigts we’d let her in and she’d sleep next to my legs in bed. We fed her outside, too. One night we heard all this commotion out on the deck, flipped on the light, and saw that it was a very large raccoon, calmly eating the cat food. Mouthwash was sitting on the bench near her, waiting her turn.

About a week or so later, the raccoon returned with her four kits and stood by watching them eat. We had one of those double bowls out there, and they positioned themselves with two on each side. It was really cute: you’d see a head, a tail, another head, and another tail. Mouthwash was on the deck with them, and she just sat patiently, waiting her turn.

One night, we looked out there, and there was a possum out there eating….

Many years later, after we had that deck torn down and a new one put up sans stairs, we looked out one rainy morning and saw a huge hawk sitting on the railing. We knew it lived in the tree behind our house, so she must have been grounded until the rain stopped. We often see her flying high overhead, and occasionally watch her carry off one of the squirrels in the neighborhood…

One afternoon, Mary and I were driving near Sweat Mountain and saw a turkey buzzard cleaning up some road kill on the sidewalk. There’s a flock of them that live up on the mountain, and they do a fine job of keeping the streets clean.

Linda is your host for Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Now a word about Montclair cigarettes. Just enough in every puff makes every puff a pleasure!

27 thoughts on “Home With The Wild Animals #socs

  1. That raccoon meme is adorable! That was quite the wild animal zoo you had growing up. I laughed at all the clever names. Mouthwash is hilarious! Oh, my, that commercial, isn’t it odd humans buy the marketing? They tell us straight out that they’re adding something to make it taste better so you buy what is bad for you?! Ugh.

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  2. Living in the country, we had our share of wild animals plus every cat snd fog we owned were from people dropping them off from the side of the highway. Poor animals! We always fed them and they were our own. We found 2 baby squirrels in a tree and my mom fed them. One did pass away but the other was a pet. We gave it to a person who knew how to care for wild animals. The neighbour found a small racoon and I would feed yhe little thing. He gave me my first hickey !

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  3. Wow that’s a lot of wild critters. We get raccoons in our garage at night if we don’t close the door all the way. They make a mess and eat the food that hubby puts out for the stray cat that lives in our garage.

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  4. Ah, memories! If you feed feral cats, you can count on ‘possum and raccoon visits even more than the cats’! It was (sorta) fun, but I’m (sorta) glad it’s over. Now, the squirrels and mice own us. *Sigh..

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  5. The first deck we put on our house had steps leading up to it too — big mistake. Possums and raccoons used to come and raid the cat food dish and the compost bucket, so when we replaced the deck we left off the steps. Our outdoor cat, Scruffy, can still get up there whenever he wants to (he’s a good jumper), and we get lots of birds and the occasional squirrel, but no more possums or raccoons.

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  6. Hm, the buzzard ending seems kind of a Non sequitur. Though it gives a nice visual. Raccoons can be dangerous. Had a pack of them circling us once camping out with my kids. Just me and the small kids. Of course, due to my “tiny brain,” I had left a cooler on a bench while we went hiking filled with chocolate bars. And marshmallows and graham crackers (even though I hate smores). Pretty sure I left it closed, but they had no problem getting into them. All night long, they were scratching at the sides of our tent for more. My daughter cried most of the night saying “they have scary faces.” A friend of mine said a pack of them lurked around their campsite one night as they sat around their campfire. She said one of them ran up and scraped her across the back. They behave like little bears, I’ve heard said. Also a high school friend of mine had one as a pet she had raised as a baby–somehow they had gotten it from the wild. Eventually it went freaking crazy and attacked us in her house and I can still remember standing on her kitchen table as it screeched and ran at us…so those are my raccoon experiences. Yours sound much more peaceful….

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    1. p.s. We had a pack of them eating my mother’s corn when I was growing up. It pissed her off, so she’d heard if you put a strobe light out there and played music, they would go away. No, but they had a nice ‘coon dance. Too funny.

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  7. When we lived in Jacksonville, FL, our house backed up to reserve. There were a variety of critters that would entertain us including a family of raccoons. I know raccoons can be nasty but the babies were just too cute.

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  8. You had a literal menagerie going on! It’s amazing, our relationship with cats.
    We had raccoons visiting our 1st house when my kids were still babies. The raccoons would raid the garbage cans we put out the night before collection day; they have a “unique” palate as they favored the baby’s dirty diapers!! 🀒

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    1. Eww, gross… Of course, maybe it was what you were feeding the kids.

      Mary and I have had a lot of cats over the years. We’re now down to our last; we decided, after she goes, we’re going to wait a year before deciding whether to get another, unless one literally arrives at our doorstep and wants to come in…

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    1. We tend to use “buzzard” and “vulture” interchangeably, so yes, it’s the same thing. This must have been a young one, because it wasn’t all that big (yet). They are ugly birds, but part of nature, and an important one, I think…

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