Thursday, June 21, 12:54AM. I hear the cat rummaging around at her feeding station and I yell, “Knock it off!…Go lay down!…Go to bed!” The crashing and thrashing continues so I resolve to get up to see what the hullaballoo is about. I find the cat scaling the window screens in the kitchen (odd behavior). NO! THAT’S A RACCOON!!
The cat is on the floor staunchly defending home-turf. As I come to terms with the fact that I have a disgusting, wild animal in the house (How did this thing get inside? How am I going to get it out?), the terrified raccoon launches itself onto the kitchen counter with an angry cat in pursuit. Fighting the urge to grab the thing and throw it as it runs helter-skelter toward the clean china, I whack it with a colander while begging it “No, no, no, no, no”. It throws itself off the counter and runs –angry cat in pursuit–into the basement. It brushes my legs on its retreat and I realize I’m a bit under-dressed for the task at hand. I also think, “Wow, that was softer and cleaner feeling than I thought that filthy beast would be.” Now I’m yelling, “No, no, no, no, no,” in that commanding voice meant to call-off your pet from certain harm.
What follows is that bull-in-a-china-shop sound that no one wants to hear coming from the basement. This awful racket continues while I lock the cat–who thankfully listened to me–in a room; grab a broom; and prop doors open. With the sounds of home destruction continuing, I decide that it’s time to call in back-up and call my Dad who lives nearby, “I’m OK but there’s a raccoon in my house. Will you help me get it out.” You know, because every father wants a call from his daughter at 1:00AM.
It’s windy and the back door slams shut. When I enter the kitchen after opening the door again the raccoon is upstairs and–of course, it can’t go out the open door–it runs full-bore down the hallway and into my bedroom, of course. On my way to the bedroom, I notice the cat shoving her nose and paws under the door. She wants a piece of that raccoon. I’m still begging, “No.”
When I get into my bedroom, the raccoon is on my dresser frantically trying to figure out how to get through the screened window. When it sees me it scales the bookshelf knocking picture frames and art to their certain demise and proceeds to claw frantically at the corner of the room (“No, no, no, no, no.”). When the frantic clawing doesn’t gain it its release, it launches itself onto a nearby chair, runs across the room to my nightstand, knocks over the lamp and Velcros itself to a Japanese wall hanging. Swing, swing, swing while it climbs the wall hanging. When this climbing effort doesn’t work it drops onto the nightstand again and claws at that corner. When this does not give it the release that it desires, it once again runs across the room, across the chair, scales my favorite books, knocks some more things from the shelves and frantically claws at the corner.
In the meantime I’m frantically (everyone is frantic) opening the window above the dresser wide enough to chuck a raccoon out of. I simultaneously try to contain the raccoon on top of the bookshelf (No more swinging from the wall hangings, please.) and try to wrench the window screen free of the frame. The raccoon is hissing and threatening me and I’m hoping it doesn’t decide to do a kamikaze and jump on my head as a last-ditch resort to freedom. Once the screen is wrested free from the frame, I use the broom to wrangle the raccoon off the shelf and onto my dresser. This is delicate work as the raccoon continues to threaten me and could clearly bolt in any direction at any moment leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. It hesitates as it gets to the open window trying to judge what lies in wait. Pfft, heck no. You’re not thinking about this. You’re outta here. WHACK! with the broom. Nightmare over.
Fortunately dad was still in the process of loading his gun when I called to notify him that the raccoon had been extricated. Why had I not considered that shooting an animal inside the house might have been part of his removal effort? Note to self: Unless you want something dead inside your home, don’t call Dad.
Upon inspection, there really wasn’t much damage: two screens, a picture frame and my sense of security (The funny thing is that I had watched a video that had spooked me a couple nights before. Yeah, raccoon in the house is so much more terrifying than the possibility of alien abduction.). One screen was damaged from the forced entry and Spider-Man efforts of the terrified raccoon. The other was damaged by my Incredible Hulk imperative to remove the screen from the bedroom window as quickly as possible. The favored books were fine. Not even the walls were scratched (Hoozah, ten-year-old, Benjamin Moore paint).
Although this is not the first animal removal effort involving me in my pajamas, the cat and a broom, the cat and I didn’t sleep much after that. She kept watch at the bedroom door and every time I stirred she was up and ready to kick some raccoon butt.
Yup, that happened and we survived.