Updated February 26, 2016
Raccoon cat encounters have the potential to be extremely dangerous, even leading to grisly injury and death for domesticated felines.
Yes, this is a strong statement. Unfortunately, it’s true. Let me tell you our story.
Last fall the property next door sold and new neighbors moved in early in September 2014. With them, came about a dozen chickens . . . the free range kind.
Farm poultry of any kind and forest wildlife are never a successful mix. We expected coyotes, cougars and bears would increase their presence and consume the chicken population.
To our surprise, this never happened.
Instead, a raccoon moved in to the neighborhood.
For the last twelve years, we’ve peacefully coexisted with the wildlife here. They go their way; we go ours. That we are aware of each other’s existence is apparent, but we all respect the boundary between wild and tame.
We suspect this raccoon had been in the neighborhood for years, but like all the other wildlife, it remained incognito . . .
. . . until the chickens arrived.
Normally, raccoons are nocturnal animals, and so was ours. Its glaring eyes glowed bright in flashlight beams on the darkest of nights as it “trilled” its retreat after awakening us with its mischievous ruckus.
Granted, raccoons are cute, enchanting, very intelligent and incredibly dexterous. Humans enjoy their entertaining antics.
Raccoons are the stuff of great tales.
Have you heard the ballad, Rocky Raccoon, as sung by the Beatles?
Abby thinks raccoons are curious creatures.
Dodger thinks they are uncooperative, always wanting the higher hand and finds them very difficult to manage, especially since they are bigger than he is. (Dodger may carry a big stick, but he’s a small cat!)
One pre-dawn morning, when I opened the back slider door to let Abby outside, I saw the raccoon.
It wasn’t long after this initial sighting the raccoon began making daytime appearances usually at the island garden pond.
Shortly, those appearances became prolonged and on an almost daily basis.
We became particularly alarmed when the raccoon approached us when we were working outside.
The raccoon was rapidly losing its fear of humans, putting us, Abby and Dodger at risk!
While raccoons and cats have been known to peacefully coexist together, it is not unusual for raccoons to viciously attack, maim and kill pet cats, especially smaller adult cats and kittens. Dodger is a small cat and Abby doesn’t have a clue as to how to defend herself against a wild animal.
Raccoons can be a significant nuisance, causing wide-spread and expensive property damage by breaking in and nesting in house attics, basements and walls, or raiding garbage cans, kitchen cupboards and pantries for food.
When they infiltrate a house, they leave a trail of destruction behind them. Even worse, the scent marking and defecation can drive a homeowner from their residence.
Raccoons carry parasites, such as round worms that pass easily to cats that eat and drink from the same sources.
Protect yourself, your cats and your home by taking the appropriate precautions.
We drained the pond and the raccoon moved on.
In the meantime, the neighbors have put their house up for sale, and they (and their chickens) will be moving soon.