Thursday, August 27, 2009

Animal Kingdom

And the critter adventures continue.  For those of you with dogs, I'd like to sing the praises of cats at this point in time.  Of course my older "grandpa" cat has always thought he was a dog (does that count as a dog?), so he assumes that role since the dog he grew up with died.  But on with my story.
Some of you have probably seen my post on "Squirrel Wars."  I'm going to do a prequel to that story.  When we first moved into this house, a chipmunk went running through the empty rooms.  We were able to corral it in a carpet roll and take it outside.  After we moved in, I pointed out to DH that we also had mice moving in (and again, DH never believes me when I notice these bothersome things).  I knew this by the things they left behind - if you know what I mean.  So he put out mouse bait and guess what?  He caught a mouse.  Now that the house was occupied, they didn't seem as interested in sharing space, so we haven't had a lot of trouble with the little varmints.  However, we did manage to find one more chipmunk that had invaded the basement - cat territory - and it didn't survive the experience.  All has been quiet since then until the Squirrel Wars began.

There was the squirrel in the attic (I think I blogged about that).  Then last week we had the squirrel in the basement.  You'll notice that the critters are getting progressively larger.  LAST NIGHT (and of couse DH swears he blocked the access point for these guys) I'm working on my web site (I even blogged last night!) and I turn around to find . . . are you ready for this? . . . an opossum staring at me from the top of the basement steps.  So I let out a little yelp of surprise, and my son (I'm so glad he was home with me last night!) says, "I wish you'd quit doing that."  And then I told him WHY I did that.  Well obviously, the possum was as surprised as I was and took off, so I finished what I was doing, having no idea where this thing took off to, and then went on a critter hunt.  Did it go back in the basement?  Good luck finding it down there.  Did it go behind the couch in the living room?  No . . . and the two cats?  Sleeping on the sofa in the living room.  No chase being given, no acknowledgement of intruders.  But wait, didn't I tell you I was going to sing their praises?

Old Grandpa cat gets up off the couch (he's still pretty spritely for an old man) and walks to the laundry room.  Yeah, yeah.  Like the possum is going to hide in the smallest room in the house.  Even still, I follow with a flashlight, to illuminate any dark corners, and there's nothing there.  I went to the basement, and no sign of life down there.  Did that "tip toe" thing creeping around my own house, peeking around corners, and checked all the rooms on the main floor.  Nothing.  But Grandpa cat insists I check the laundry room.  He paces back and forth, following me, then goes back to the laundry room like a hound dog - nearly pointing the way tracking dogs will.  Okay, okay.  I'll look again.  So armed with my flashlight, I check the dark corners again, only this time, I look behind the appliances.  Darn if that cat wasn't right!  Cowering in the corner, I see a tail.  Round up One Young Son, block off the access, open the back door.  Maybe it will just walk out, you think?  HAH.  After several of minutes of banging on the walls and throwing shoes to scare it out, One Young Son picks up a broom and goes on the attack.  Fortunately, he can sneak up behind it.  He brushes it toward the door, but the possum is too scared!  It doesn't want to go anywhere.  One Young Son keeps sweeping and eventually it gets the hint and scampers out the door.  YEAH!

It was raining last night.  Naturally.  I've already been walking around outside the house to open/close doors for this critter.  On my way back in, I check the access point and guess what?  There's a new tunnel where DH filled in the old ones, even through the barriers he built. {sigh} Do I feel bad that the critter had to run out in the rain?  Kinda.  But not enough to let it bunk inside with us.  Sorry.  The only critters in my house are those I invite in - the guardian type.

This morning, Grandpa cat complained about his living quarters early (they live in the basement when we're not home/are sleeping), so I gave him the roam of the house early.  Immediately he took up guard cat duties.  Instead of looking for a quick snuggle before I got ready for work, he posted himself to watch for dangerous varmints lurking in the shadows.  (He let me know he loved me last night after we flushed the possum out.)

When we moved into this house, there was a prairie and woods a block away.  Urban sprawl cleared that away in favor of more housing (I have a soapbox in the corner for these occassions).  So where are these critters supposed to live?  A couple of years ago we even had a deer find its way into our back yard, and we're miles from their remaining habitat.  I mean really.  If we take over all the woods and fields, there is no place else for these animals to go.  But please, not in my house.

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