Thursday, August 11, 2022

Opossum in the cat tunnel

 In the years since we had the back yard, front porch, and cat tunnel set up so our cats have a safe and expansive area in which to go outside the house, we’ve never had this happen! 

Yesterday morning when I opened the front door to the porch to clean water bowls and litter boxes out there, I was greeted by a very obviously non-feline pile of scat front and center on the porch floor. It was full of fig seeds. I figured raccoon or opossum, and was super surprised to see it in the cat safe haven, but made a mental note to close the back yard side of the tunnel before dark to deter this becoming a nightly habit for the intruder.

I visited my mom yesterday evening and just plain forgot to pass this on to my husband. When I got home from my mom’s it was after 9 p.m. and I was in the bathroom when I heard a huge ruckus through the wall where the tunnel runs. My husband closed the dogs inside, went out with a flashlight to check the tunnel, and I went to the porch where Pixie came out of the tunnel and then Mystic hovered in the porch-side tunnel entrance until my daughter came and lured him out. We got them inside with the other three cats and I blocked the tunnel entrance on the porch.

Meanwhile the opossum would not leave the tunnel and husband noted it had blood on its ears and face, clearly from the scrap with Pixie and Mystic. Mystic had a scratch on his nose and Pixie had some ruffled fur above her eye and what looked like a pre-existing scab torn off. I cleaned their little wounds and used triple antibiotic ointment as a precaution, and emailed our vet so they could let me know today if we need to do anything else. 

Both cats seem fine this morning. The opossum left in the night. We kept the dogs inside to give it a chance to get out of the tunnel and out of the yard. My guess is the opossum came up the fence and got over the cat-proof wire into the fig tree, then came down the tree into the yard. And I guess after one night doing that, came back for a repeat visit.

I’m hoping the encounter last night is enough to deter the opossum from future visits!

We’re going to block the tunnel tonight just in case. 

The fig tree is full of ripening figs right now after years of having huge numbers of them later in the season, usually so late we’re looking at first frost which stops the fig harvest in one night. This year the figs formed early and are ripening at the much more usual time for fig trees in our area. We’re enjoying them daily and so, apparently, is this opossum! 

On another note, I tend to keep an eye on what posts get the most hits each day, and it always leads me to click on an old post that suddenly is getting noticed. I’ve been posting here for many years and it’s always a treat to click on a post title that is popping and read it. This morning I read the post I wrote after Moomintroll’s death. He was a polydactyl cat who showed up in his elderly years and just absolutely made himself at home with us, in a home full of other cats and Corgis who weren’t all that sure they wanted him here. He had been declawed in front and had seizures, and we took care of him and quickly came to love him dearly. When he died at what the vet thought was around 21 years of age, it wasn’t totally unexpected but it was both sad and interesting. I really think when he died that his spirit immediately went to find that of his previous person. Reading the post I wrote in 2012 made me think of many Moomin moments. He was such an interesting and loving cat. He’s buried in our back yard along with Chase, Kyra, Keats, River, and Osage. Quite the circle of love and many beloved memories in our back yard. 

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