70: The Raccoon Hunters

70: The Raccoon Hunters

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That!

The Raccoon Hunters

The cat is domestic only as far as suits its own ends.

~Saki

Everyone knows someone with too many cats. For me it was my friend Kevin, and he elevated his cats to mythic status. Each cat had a title: Boots the Brave, Poogs the Stout, Yeen the Wise . . . I could go on, but you get the point. Kevin lived on a farm, and there was plenty of land for roaming. Somehow, over the years, they just kept acquiring cats. The issue was, I think, Boots, who was indeed brave, but alas not spayed.

Pulling into Kevin’s driveway, my first impression was that a cat bomb had gone off. There would be cats splayed out in all kinds of positions, on their backs, on their sides, doing a split while washing up, lying on the driveway, on the car, in a tree, on the swing, the roof, the porch, everywhere. It was almost impossible to get an accurate count of his cats. Every time I thought I counted them all I’d see another.

As you can imagine, there was no rodent problem on that farm. The cats had the run of the place both inside and out. They even left the kitchen faucet on in the morning, at a slow dribble, so the cats could drink right from the tap. It wasn’t uncommon to see a cat at your elbow on the dinner table, regarding you like you were the one who should not be there. They pretty much owned the place. But one summer night, there was bad news. One of the cats had been hurt.

Details were sketchy, but allegedly on the previous night, a commotion was heard out in the driveway, and Kevin’s mother ran outside to find Poogs (the Stout) bleeding from his side, and limping. Something out there had dared affront the McFall cat clan.

Kevin and I made a pact that night: to protect his myriad cats in case this thing came back. What could it be, we wondered? Another cat? A skunk? Whatever it was, we were ready. We slept in the bedroom that opened onto the porch, so we could be out there quickly. We had baseball bats by our sides, and we slept with the windows open so we could be supremely vigilant.

It wasn’t long past midnight when we heard the warning sound: a hiss. Kevin and I were soon running across the lawn in our underwear, baseball bats in hand. I saw the low, dark form of the thing dart out from a bush and run out into the street: a raccoon! It was big, and striped, and wore the characteristic bandit mask. The thing was in for a surprise, though. It had angered the wrong pack of kitties. From across the street came two of the McFall’s cats, and the raccoon stopped, arched its back, and ran back the other way, even as more cats were pouring out from the farm. The raccoon ran down the street, was cornered beneath a streetlight post, and it began to climb.

The raccoon climbed all the way to the top, and there it clung for hours. From the base of the telephone pole sounded a chorus of meows. I finally had a chance to count Kevin’s cats; there were nine that I could see. And all of them were circled round that pole, all nine tails flicking dangerously. We watched for over two hours, but there seemed to be a stalemate. We eventually got tired and had to go to bed.

In the morning all the cats were back to lolling about the yard peacefully, and there was no sign at all of any kind of excitement from the previous night. Now I’m no animal psychologist, but I’ll bet that raccoon thought twice before tangling with Poogs the Stout again.

~Ron Kaiser, Jr.

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