Feral Summer

As a child, summer meant freedom from school, family trips, and chasing the ice cream truck while waving a dollar. Sadly, not so now. Homeownership has made summer about— homeownership: cutting the lawn, pulling weeds, and dealing with various critters. These quadrupeds have consumed the majority of my summer downtime in recent years. 

The menagerie of feral beasts started with a cluster of cavorting chipmunks. They’d frolic through the tall grass, that I can’t persuade my son to mow. These four legged fiends are also kept busy by tunneling their way through the ground, under my driveway. I blame them for the resulting cracks and crumbling. Who knows what untold havoc their tunnels are wreaking under the foundation of my house. 

The wildlife games don’t end there. Mine is the chosen house, over all the others on this block, because I have a sprawling front porch, and underneath said porch lies a veritable haven, a summer retreat for a variety of unwelcome beings. 

Like the Oklahoma land rush of 1889, raccoons claimed ownership some years back. Eventually, they moved on because they found the neighborhood had lost its appeal when some new, offensive tenants moved in. Skunks had taken over sole occupancy. 

Last summer was the turf war summer—skunk vs stray cats. The cats won that fight, but the battles true loser was my home. The skunk family unleashed their wrath under my porch. The spray permeated my entire house, and the smell was discernible half a block away. It was so thick, I could taste it. It took two weeks to dissipate. 

As I said the cats won the turf war and the prize was the phat crib of a dwelling under my front porch. I know this for certain, because this summer the matriarch is back, and with her are five kittens. Not good.

My compassionate, and well meaning nineteen year old offspring has taken it upon herself to purchase sustenance in the form of canned cat food. She has been leaving food and water out every evening, with a hope that the kittens will allow themselves to be captured, body and soul. Sadly for her, I have vetoed this plan, for many reasons. I’ll list them now as a preemptive strike, because I know many of you are cat lovers. 

I love cats as much as the next guy, but the maximum number of straws are on this camels back. One more straw, and this camels back will give out. Yes, I am the camel in this metaphor. 

Did I mention that the cavorting chipmunks frolic no more? They’ve vanished. There are also piles of feathers found along my walkway… and the birds don’t sing as loudly as they once did. Yes, the natural order of the food chain can be observed through my sitting room window.

I called animal control to inquire as to what they do with the cats they catch. They said that after a two day waiting period they turn these cats over to a shelter. This shelter gives the cats a two week reprieve before euthanizing them. 

They offered to drop off a trap, if I gave them a deposit. I asked if I could use their trap to catch the cats and then turn them over myself, to a no-kill shelter. They said yes. 

A woman from animal control quickly arrived with the trap, which appears to be a humane way to catch cats, with little chance of harming them in the process. She told me not to leave the trap set at night, because I’d likely trap a raccoon or skunk, and the trap would be destroyed, resulting in my purchasing said broken trap. She also told me that it would be unlikely that I’d find a no-kill shelter willing to take the kittens and cat.

I decided to research this for myself, and found that animal control employee was correct. The shelters are not currently accepting new cats… Like I have time for this! This was my one day off this week. 

A friend suggested that I tie up my daughter to prevent her from further feedings, and then let nature take its course. With my daughter restrained, the food source would dry up, and if I’m lucky, the cats would move on in search of fresh chipmunk meat.

I picture myself as the crazy cat lady, wearing grey knee high wool socks, and a cat print apron, living with hundreds of cats in my urine soaked house. I decided to take my friends advise. I didn’t set the trap. I’ve tied up my daughter, and I’ve poured ammonia all around my front porch. I haven’t seen any sign of the cats in over twenty four hours. I hope they’ve moved on, but now I hear that coyotes have been seen in the area. 

Food chain? 
I will be closing up the area under my porch with wire mesh when I have a few days off, and once I can confirm that there are no occupants left under the porch. Next summer, I’m chasing the ice cream truck.

______________________________________

The Daily Post, June 30, 2015, Daily Prompt: In the Summertime~ If it’s autumn or winter where you live, what are you most looking forward to doing next summer? If it’s spring or summer where you are, what has been the highlight of the season so far for you?<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/in-the-summertime/”>In the Summertime</a><a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/in-the-summertime/”>In the Summertime</a>

6 thoughts on “Feral Summer

  1. That’s just awful. Hilarious to read, but it must be awful to deal with. When you put wire around the base of the porch, bury the wire. If you can, put a line of rocks along the bottom too. That will discourage anything from digging under the wire. And good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marilyn! Great advise. I’ve heard of someone who threw a smoke bomb to extricate a skunk, and then the house burnt down the next day, because of dry leaves and a smoldering fuse— so I won’t be doing that. The rocks, I will do.

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      1. It is very difficult to convince critters not to come live in your house. We have a big problem with chipmunks and mice. And skunk. The coyote drop by to see if something edible is roaming loose. We have wire all around the yard, dug in. We added the rocks because some creatures (I think skunk) were digging under the wire. NOTHING stops mice. The rocks help.

        Liked by 1 person

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