Raccoons, cats, and I'm sure we know exactly where we've seen those damned masks before

by John MacBeath Watkins

There's a bookcase outside the picture window in my shop that I put up so that the cats can climb up to the window. Two raccoons are on it as I write this, staring in the window at me, as if looking soulful would get them invited in for catfood.

Bonney, my shyer cat, looked at them, hissed, then retreated to take full advantage of the natural cover provided by the bookselves and peak around the corner at them. Even flash photography doesn't seem to scare these cheeky devils. But then, one of them came into the shop when I was watching a film, so human voices combined with lights didn't deter them either.

Wait, now a third has come. This is beginning to look like a gang, or perhaps poorly organized crime. Now the other two are leaving, and showing themselves to be rather clumsy climbers compared to my cats. I'm sitting five feet from the window, and even when I walked over to with a couple feet, the largest of the three simply stared at me.

I've done my level best to convince these masked marauders that they are not my pets. I've hissed at them to chase them away, closed the door in their faces, made sure they can't get at any food -- but they seem to be fascinated. I'm wondering if someone in the neighborhood has been feeding them. They are quite capable of getting their own living, as wild animals should.

And however fascinating they may find my cats, I don't want them interacting too closely, because from a cat's point of view, they probably look like small bears. And I worry that from a raccoon's point of view, my cats might look like food.

And I'm sure we all know where we've seen those masks before.

Cheeky devils.