Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Outdoor Dining

Anyone who knows us knows that Weber and I are both suckers for God's furry creatures.  We have a particular fondness for strays.  We are the ones who share our home with a cat who was plucked off a busy street on a 106 degree day in Dallas and a dog who was scooped up from behind a shopping center on a 17 degree February day.  Needless to say, we don't like to see any animal hot, cold or hungry.  

The other night we noticed a scruffy gray cat in the front yard.  He/she seemed to be looking for a bed and breakfast spot.  We put a small container of food out for him/her.  A few minutes later we peeked out the front window to see the cat enjoying a nice meal.  The next morning, when we went out to get the paper, the bowl was completely empty.

When Paul (our contractor) got here that day he panicked thinking the bowl on the porch was because Frankie had gotten out and we were trying to lure her home.  When we confessed to feeding a stray, he was not surprised, being one who does the same thing.

The next night, there was an orange cat in the yard.  Word of free food travels fast in our neighborhood!  We think the orange cat may belong to our neighbor but we're not sure.  Again we filled the food bowl and placed it on the front porch.  And again, the bowl, which was actually a Rubbermaid food storage container, was completely empty the next morning.

How many times have we both been told that you should never feed strays or you will be feeding them forever.  Somehow that seemed OK.  So, we bought a real cat food bowl, one with two separate sides, and continued to fill it with food in water.  It went untouched for a few days.  Figures.

Then, a couple nights ago Weber wandered over to the front door before we headed to bed.  He said that we had a visitor at the food bowl and asked if I wanted to come see.  I asked if it was the gray cat or the orange one.  His response, "Neither."  

This is who was there . . .

 . . .a youngish looking raccoon!

 I didn't think we had raccoons in the middle of suburbia.  Obviously I was wrong.  We watched for ten minutes or so as the raccoon ate and drank and washed its paws and ate and drank some more.  Frankie sat in the window and watched along with us.  Somehow the dogs, mighty protectors that they are,  were oblivious.

We know that it is not a good thing to feed wild animals.  It's not good for them to become dependent on humans for their food.  Now we were in a quandary.  Was the raccoon just a fluke?  Or, was it going to come back for more? What about the cats?

We decided to wait a couple of night before filling the bowl again.  Last night we gave in.  The bowl had not been out long when Weber checked to see if we had any diners.  Yes, yes we did, but it was not the raccoon or either of the familiar cats.

It was . . .
a possum.  Isn't it cute!

I have seen possums in the back yard running along the fence so it doesn't surprise me that one meandered around to the front for a little nosh.  If our next door neighbor finds out that we are feeding the local possum population, we will at the top of her s*#t list.  She is always calling animal control to come set traps to catch and remove the possums from her yard.  Frankly, that is a lost cause.  Unless of course, we keep feeding them and they relocate to our yard.

So now we are faced with the question . . .to feed or not to feed?