We thought we had “handled” the raccoon situation. Feed our family of 7 or so feral cats around 4 p.m. and take in the food dishes by 7 or 8 p.m. It seemed to be working. No Rocky Raccoon and no dirt in the cats’ water bowl, which is the telltale sign of raccoon presence because they fastidiously wash their paws after eating. Still, over the last 2 weeks we knew something was wrong. Not all of the cats were showing up an the cats that did come to eat were the older cats. Hmmmm. Odd, but it isn’t as though you can call one of the cats into your office and have a discussion. Right? At the same time it was during this time that we had a cold snap with temperatures down into the 40s at night. Normal for much of the country during late December, but very cold for the flatland areas of Southern California. Perhaps the cats had found a warm and cozy place which they thought was better than the carpet lined cardboard box we had left for them on the sheltered patio. I have had enough cats to know that they are independently minded and will do what they want to do, when they want to do it, and to try for anything else is a silly and frustrating exercise of human brain power.
Finally, a couple of the older kittens started showing up. Maybe things were OK. Then a few nights ago we heard a noise outside. 6:30 p.m. Warm. Back door open. We are having dinner. Hubby gets up and goes to the door. “Rocky is back?” I ask. Hubby says “no, not Rocky. Tonight we have Rocky and friends”. I get up to look just in time to see three good sized raccoons jump off the table where we have the food dishes and slowly amble away, looking often over their shoulders. They are in absolutely no hurry to get out of our way. At the edge of the pool they stop and look as we pick up the food dishes and take them inside.
RATS! (no, not the animals, simply a exclamation). We pick up the food dishes with the bits of dry food left, shake our heads, go inside, and sit back down to dinner. A couple of minutes later we hear noises again. The same type of noise we heard earlier of animals and food dishes. We get up and look out the door once again. THEY’RE BACK! No food is available, but the water dish is still there and the raccoons are busily washing their paws. Fastidious little bastards. They jump off the table to the benches and down to the ground, and look at us. Two sit up and stretch out their paws. Aren’t they adorable – NO! Obviously they are not afraid of humans.
Plan B. We need a plan B. Feed the cats in the morning only; feed the cats in the morning and later afternoon but only during daylight; develop a feeding location that the cats can get to but the raccoons cannot reach; check with animal control to figure out a way to capture the raccoons without capturing the cats. It is OUR patio, not their patio, but here we are rearranging the furniture trying to keep the cats and not keep the raccoons.
For now, we have the food for the cats on a round table with no chairs near or other objects where we think a raccoon could jump from one spot to another to get to the food. We’ve used an old angel food cake pan for the food. The table has a hole in the center for an umbrella. We put an umbrella stand under the table and stick in a large patio umbrella, feeding it through the hole in the cake pan and the hole in the table, into the sturdy, heavy umbrella stand. The umbrella is opened part of the way to keep some sun off the food, and water off the food should it rain. Will this work? We have no idea. We can look at the food after the cats have eaten and then again when we are ready to go to bed to see whether we have been visited by Rocky and friends.
Are there any positives? One big positive. We have a house on a slab foundation, so we don’t have to worry about the raccoon family getting under the foundation, and we don’t think there is away they can get onto the roof. Still, they are clever creatures so we will be double checking all the attic vents to be sure they are raccoon secure.
We could choose to not feed the cats at all, but we have a soft heart for felines and enjoy watching their antics. Just the raccoons, we’ve got to find a way to get rid of the raccoons.
Does anybody have any ideas as to how to resolve this?
Is there a food or scent that cats love or at least can tolerate but that raccoons hate?
Otherwise . . . . . .Plan C, whatever that will turn out to be.
Every Day Is A Good Day With VJ.