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Raccoons on My Porch

My raccoons aren’t visiting anymore. My grandchildren, my cats and I are sad about that. All summer long, one or two raccoons would come on my back porch to eat the food I set out for what I thought was a feral cat. (Turns out the cat belongs to a new neighbor, and I was contributing to its weight gain.) My cats did not like the black cat, but they were very happy about the ‘coons. After dinner each evening, my pets would sit by the porch door waiting for the raccoons.

Even after I was gone a whole month, one female kept coming. She had kits someplace. If I didn’t have food out for her, she stood up at the door, looking in. Then I would go get half a cup of cat food, open the door, and tell her to come on. She only ran away as far as the steps, but then came back to eat even before I had closed the door. The porch light didn’t bother her either. My grandson lay on his tummy watching her for fifteen minutes one evening. I hope she is fat and healthy and preferring wild food.

Animals have definite opinions on things. We experimented with foods the ‘coons would eat. Fruit, yes; broccoli, no; carrots, tomatoes, celery, no; moldy cheese or meat scraps, yes. They like stale Cheerios, but not cheese grits. Their favorite is cat food kibble. It has been fun trying things on them and getting rid of leftovers. My cats have their own ideas too. Dripping faucets are great; bowls of fresh water are not. White cat sleeping on my black slacks is terrific; sleeping in her own bed is not. Those nasty black crickets are delicious; big black ants are not.

Years ago, Sterling North wrote a wonderful memoir called Rascal, recalling his adventures with his rescued raccoon. That ‘coon went fishing, camping, biking, and milking the cows with Sterling. Even the ending is bitter sweet, which doesn’t happen too often in animal books. (Usually the animal gets killed off.)

Much more recently, author Kate DiCamillo wrote Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon. This one is totally fiction and totally delightful. Screaming raccoons, ghost or real? An animal control officer who may not be good at her job. What could be better? This author also wrote Because of Winn Dixie about a lonely girl and her rescued dog, and The Tale of Despereaux, a novel about a mouse hero.

If you want to learn more about ’coons, check out the 599 section in the nonfiction and juvenile nonfiction rooms. You’ll find all kinds of information for all ages about our wild animal neighbors.

P.S. Mama Raccoon came back last night and brought two young ones with her. Continuing the cat food kibble.

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