Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Life Outside My Door

Those who know me at all know I'm a critter person. Finned, feathered or furry, I love 'em all. (I'm not crazy about the multi-legged, antennae'd crowd, but I'm working on it.) My friend E. calls me "Jim" from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, and to a certain extent, she's right. It can have fangs flashing, hackles raised, deep-throated growling going on, but if it's furry, finned or feathered, I'll likely try to make friends with it. And since I still have all my fingers (attached -- not, like, in a jar next to the bed), I reckon I've been pretty successful so far.

I dig critters. I can't help it. Some people are addicted to gambling. Some people have this deep biological need to spawn. Some people live in Springfield, Illinois. There are lots of inexplicable behaviors out there -- this is mine.

When I was 19, I gave up eating critters because I just couldn't do it anymore. The Donner party may have started in my home town, but I, for one, don't eat my friends.

But everything, and I mean everything, eats cat food. Who knew? It must be like manna from heaven, this stuff, because it's rare that I walk by my backdoor and there isn't something out there, face down in the bowl I leave out for my "guest cat," Siam. And after dark, it's even crazier. I have now learned to recognize the different crunching sounds made by cats, raccoons and opossums. (The stellar jays don't chew, so them I recognize when I hear what sounds like a herd of old ladies bitching about the service.)

My cats -- the indoor-only ones -- love to sit, perfectly safe, inside the gated back door and stick their perfectly safe tongues out at the raccoons. The raccoons, when finished with all the cat food, wrap their tiny little hands around my gate like prisoners who have been extraordinarily rendered to my back door. They can usually wheedle a second scoop of Purina for their efforts.

I try not to feed the critters too much. I don't want them to get dependent on me (except for Siam, who has a disability and can eat at my door as long as she needs), and I don't know if cat food fulfills all their nutritional needs. It's a little like Halloween, actually; they come around with their masks and knock politely, and I give them some treats and warn them to be careful and look both ways if they're planning to cross a street any time soon.

Hey, if you were that cute, I'd give you cat food too.


NuclearToast said...

Aw, they are so cute! Their cuteness almost overcomes my jealousy of all things critter (I hate taking 3rd or 4th place).

Raggedy Angst said...

Lucky for you you're furry, huh?

bladio said...

racoons scare me.

Ash said...

They are cute but they can turn mean really quickly. If one stands on its hind legs and makes a clicking noise, run!

Lynn Sinclair said...

Every neighbourhood should have it's own Raggedy Angst so no critters would go hungry.