adventures in apartment living

Last night, as J and I were getting ready for bed, our smallest cat was crouching at the door to our balcony, growling. This cat is known to growl at her reflection, so I initially didn’t think anything of it. But then I remembered that our older female cat had come in from the balcony utterly spooked earlier in the evening, complete with poofy tail.

Our balcony light needs a new bulb (I keep forgetting to replace it), so I grabbed my trusty maglite, and I started to look through the window for anything that might be scaring the cats. When I didn’t see anything, I opened the door a little, and poked my head out, and then I saw it: a large raccoon.

We live on the second floor, so our balcony is not easy for critters to reach. Therefore, we have turned the balcony into a little haven for our cats to give them a little extra space. We even placed a small free feeder of food outside so that they would be more tempted to spend time out there. Unfortunately, this was a temptation for the whole animal kingdom, it seems.

I told J about our raccoon, and we tried to brainstorm what to do. It appeared to be stuck, but we needed to pick up that food before any other critters decided to join him. My brave wife grabbed the maglite and opened the door, shining it on the animal. He was clearly frightened by this and clumsily made his way up to the railing. She continued to shine the light on him, and he attempted to scurry down, falling on his way. I felt a little bad for him, but at least he was gone!

Then we went for the food dish to see what damage he had done. It was all gone. We had filled the thing earlier in the day with about two pounds of food. All two pounds had been eaten. The little piggy had had himself a feast.

But this is not the weirdest part of it all. It seems our raccoon visitor was litterbox trained. Earlier in the day, J and been cleaning the balcony litterbox and found a giant poop there–much larger than our cats are known to create. She found this curious but didn’t think much of it. After the raccoon left last night, she again looked at the box, and it was filled with pee (he had also consumed all of the water we placed outside for the cats and overturned the bowl). We’re grateful that he was at least considerate to use the box during his stay, which we think must have been a lengthy one based on our first cat’s reaction a few hours before bedtime. It just kills me that she was out there terrified while this raccoon stole her food, pissed in her box, and made itself at home on her balcony.

The funny thing is that I’m really not so stupid as to put food out for wild animals. I grew up in a rural setting in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I know that when food of any sort is left out that one is simply inviting critters of all kinds to come visit. I suppose I felt that things were more secure on our second-floor balcony in a rather populated apartment complex. Alas, I have learned my lesson once again and will no longer be feeding our neighborhood wildlife, but the public restroom facilities will remain.



Filed under animals

9 responses to “adventures in apartment living

  1. wanted a bite to eat and to use your facilities. too funny. glad its visit wasn’t too traumatic.

  2. amy

    haha. that is great that he used the litter box. how funny.

  3. Raccoons are so scary! We have a small second floor – just one room – where we mostly just watch tv. When our cat got diabetes she got really finicky about where she would eat and since she slept upstairs so much we started leaving a bowl of dry food up there for her.

    Well, last summer raccoons ripped a hole in the screen on one of the open windows and I found two of them up there playing and eating the food one night (we had a small bucket of water up there for our swamp cooler and they apparently love water and splashed about in it too). When I saw them up there I was scared out of my mind. We had to call animal control to get them out (the officer who came was shaking with fear bc they can be such mean animals).

    We kept that window closed tight and the food downstairs after that! Even still we saw them trying to reenter through other windows several times after that. If you have a persistent raccoon visitor, I recommend getting a bottle of raccoon repellent at the hardware store which is basically pellets of coyote urine (their natural predator). After we sprinkled that outside the windows they didn’t come back.

    Anyway, I’m glad yours was just on the porch and your kitties were ok!

    • reproducinggenius

      Olive, that is so scary! I was honestly quite terrified that the thing was going to get into our house, and when J went out onto the balcony with it, this frightened me all the more. They can be really mean little buggers, and I’m so glad my cat who was clearly out there with it was okay!

      Thanks, too, for the coyote urine tip. I was thinking there must be a repellant. We may have to get some if they decide to come back, since once they find a food source, they do tend to return.

  4. Funny, funny, funny. I have tears running down my face. I’m sorry that your kitties’ outdoor retreat has been taken over by the raccoon, but I’m glad the kitties weren’t hurt.

  5. poppycat

    Haha! Poor kitties! Those racoons can get into anything anywhere. They scare me because they can be mean too. We have a opossum AND racoons in our yard and they are always terrorizing our wussy dog. He won’t go out to pee if he knows they are around!

    I am sure the racoon will appreciate the facilities even if the diner is closed!

  6. At least he had the courtesy to use the litter box. 🙂

  7. giggleblue

    the racoon sounds like goldilocks. the coyote urine tip reminded me instantly of the movie “the soloist”.

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