You know you have too many cats when you fail to realize that the large, furry creature at your back door isn’t actually one of your cats. Stepping into the darkness on a cold, winter night, my daughter was dressed in a robe and boots as she planned to retrieve her backpack from her car. Her hopes were to dart quickly through the cold and be back inside within seconds. When she opened the door and stepped outside, you can imagine her surprise when she realized she was standing next to a full grown raccoon who did not answer to “Here, kitty, kitty.” She jumped back inside the house as we both stared through the glass door, eye to eye with a wild thing who simply didn’t seem that wild. As it has always been, all things injured find their way to our doorstep and at nine o’clock at night, I was not ready to play doctor in the cold to an injured raccoon, patiently waiting on the door mat that clearly said “Welcome.“
A quick assessment from the safe side of the door led us to believe that the animal had broken a back leg. A covey of cats was watching with great interest from the safety of the top of my car. My daughter gave instructions for me to quickly lift the animal and protect him from the predators of the night. As cuddly as he looked and as kind as his smile was, I knew down deep that I did not want a series of rabies shots, should he sink his teeth into my arm. I danced around the car, keeping my feet far away from the raccoon as I carefully relocated cats from my sunroof to my laundry room. With a large broom handle that was probably more frightening than it actually was, we pushed food into the corner for the raccoon to eat and prayed that he might return to his family in the woods. There was little we could do for him without jeopardizing our own safety. We removed the beasts of the night to lighten his load and offered a meal to get him on his way.
In the morning, our raccoon was nowhere to be found. I continued to dance around my car as I wasn’t 100% certain he wouldn’t reach out from the undercarriage of the car for one last bite before he left. I do hope that little guy makes it home and that Mother Nature will gently cradle a wild, injured thing that only she was ever meant to hold.
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