47: Groundhog Double Trouble

47: Groundhog Double Trouble

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat

Groundhog Double Trouble

Fun fact: About one in three thousand calicos is a male, and he carries an extra X chromosome, making him sterile.

“I don’t want to see that cat in our yard again,” my husband said as he shooed the beautiful calico across the creek and back into the neighbor’s yard.

“Good luck with that! Cats aren’t like dogs, honey. They are very independent and tend to roam wherever they please, especially if they are mousing.”

“Well, text our neighbor and let her know I don’t appreciate her cat in our yard.”

Sighing, I sent off a quick text to our sweet neighbor, Cheryl, informing her of my husband’s dislike of cats.

“I’ll do my best,” she replied sometime later, “but it’s kind of hard controlling where she goes when I let her outside.”

The following morning, John stood at the picture window in our bedroom. He’d installed it so that I could watch the birds visiting our feeders.

So far, it had been the best gift I’d ever received.

“You aren’t going to believe this,” he murmured. “Come look!”

Slowly, I approached the window, praying Cheryl’s cat wasn’t on our deck.

“Good grief,” I gasped. Seated side by side, right in the center of our deck, were two enormous groundhogs. We’d observed groundhogs before, especially since our back yard backs up to a wooded area, but never had they been as bold as these two.

John raised the window, and the two raced across the yard and into the woods.

That evening, I happened to glance out the picture window. A hummingbird sipped nectar, twirling around the feeder we’d hung under the eaves. Then something caught my eye in the flowerbed beyond.

“John, come quick!” Hurriedly, he entered the bedroom just in time to see one of the groundhogs munching on the red dianthus flowers we’d planted around the water fountain. “Why, it’s eaten every single blossom!”

Again, John lifted the window, and the groundhog made a beeline for the woods.

“Hmmm, I better look up groundhogs on the computer and see just how destructive they can be.”

Before he left the room, however, he heard me gasp.

“Look!”

Across the yard, we’d planted a vegetable garden. We’d taken great pains to enclose the rows and rows of plants in chicken wire. Nevertheless a groundhog sat in the center of the garden, munching on a stalk of celery.

“How did he get in there?” I squeaked.

“He burrowed a hole right underneath,” John replied angrily. “That does it… something’s got to be done!”

I watched my six-foot-four Marine stalk off toward the computer, silently praying he wouldn’t return to see the groundhog now devouring the lettuce.

“Hmmm, that’s interesting…” John stared intently at the computer screen in the other room.

“What is it?”

“Says here that groundhogs do not like cats… in fact, they detest the scent of soiled kitty litter.”

I thought about the absence of our neighbor’s cat lately.

“You know, I haven’t seen Cheryl’s cat mousing in our yard for some time. I wonder if that’s the reason these critters have gotten so brave.”

John sheepishly glanced in my direction. “You might have something there. Why don’t you text Cheryl and let her know the cat ban has been removed.”

I couldn’t help chuckling as I wandered into the bedroom in search of my cell phone.

That evening, we spotted the sweet yellow calico roaming the border of our woods in search of mice.

The groundhogs were nowhere in sight.

“It’s a beautiful evening, isn’t it?” My husband smiled as we sat on the back porch. The sunset painted the sky pink, purple and gold.

I couldn’t help sighing contentedly. Cheryl’s cat meowed in the distance. “You might say it’s absolutely purrfect!”

~Mary Z. Whitney

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