So in addition to the loss of one of our cats, we also made the difficult decision to put one of our other cats who had a problem with inappropriate urination out back.
We’ve done this before; ten years ago, we had a pair of tabbies whose occasional IU became more consistent, including peeing things on my desk, that we put out in the back yard. We provided them food and water and bought fairly expensive small dog houses to ignore whilst they sought shelter under the deck.
The food drew some of the other neighborhood cats and other fauna along, and so it was with Athena. A black male cat has been showing up, even before Athena was out there and food was available, but he comes around in the evenings for a little nibble. He makes a strange sound, and he will not get close to us, but he is comfortable enough to flop on the patio or the lawn nearby. And Athena, who did not get along with the other cats in the house–she would spit and hiss at them and then lose any escalated encounter that occurred. But she’s cool with Peirce, as we have nicknamed the cat (not a typo: He is named for Charles Sanders Peirce). She’ll not yowl at him and will sometimes trot off to see where he’s going when he leaves the yard–but Athena does not venture far, which is probably for the best.
It’s kind of nice having a backyard cat, Athena. I’ve taken to bringing a book out in the evenings to read, and Athena will jump onto my lap. Sometimes, she’ll jump down and lounge on the patio pavement or on the table between the chairs, and I’ll actually get to read that book.
Like last night. She hopped down and settled against the wall of the house behind my chair, and I read a bit.
But then Athena spit a hiss and moved from under the chair, and I turned to see if it was Peirce, and it was a different cat….
No, wait, it was not a cat. It was a raccoon that had basically sneaked toward the food dish by creeping under the chair I was sitting on.
He went to the food dish with one eye on me and consumed the remainder of the food in the dish.
So I have named him Samwise Gamgee, although I am not sure I will be able to recognize him again.
But I’ve been closer to him than I have to Peirce.
We try to keep the amount of food in the bowl to a minimum to prevent too many wild creatures in the back yard. When we had the boys out there, we kept the bowl for them full, so every night we had possums, raccoons, other cats, and skunks stopping by–sometimes more than one of each at a time.
Given that we sit out on that patio more these days now that we have a patio set, I don’t think I want to encourage it.
But I think I’ll take my phone out to get a picture from now on.