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A Womans View
The zoo at our house
Judith Tabler clr

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting”.
Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Please exercise your right to vote next Tuesday!
There’s a zoo at our house. We are not running the zoo. The zoo is running us.
The yearly armadillo saga continues. The critters sneak to our country yard from the creek, seeking our watered lawn. They bore holes with their snout looking for grubs. They are nocturnal creatures. It is not uncommon to wake up to a yard thoroughly desecrated by one or more of these creatures.
Fred and I occasionally get up at night and catch one in the act, and hopefully shoot it. So far, in two years time, we have killed only one. When I stumble out of the bed in the dark, and walk the yard with a flashlight on my watch, I pray to God that I won’t see one. They scare me.
Shhh. Don’t tell Fred.
The many deer drink water out of the birdbath. They eat the seeds on the ground under the bird feeder. They are not shy. We watch from our kitchen window. Seeing a deer only 20 feet from us is a weird feeling. They are members of our zoo.
Our garage houses our two cats, Mama, (the feral who now is reasonably tame) and Belle, (the fat, calico-type cat who loves everybody). Their beds are in the corner, and their feeding dishes are not too far away. The door to the outside is equipped with a personal flipping cat door. The cats pass in and out as they please. However, we find that other critters are also enjoying the treats and hospitality of Mama and Belle’s hotel.
The water bowl is drained nightly. The food disappears too. It’s expensive running a zoo...or rather having a zoo run us! Last year, a hanging bag of rags on the wall was the hiding place of a fairly large possum. It slept curled up and comfy in the bag hanging on a nail on the wall. How on earth it got there was beyond us.
So this year, we figured that possums were the “posse comitatus” of our garage. They had the control. The cats willingly abstained.
But, we soon discovered the raccoons. Opening the kitchen door on my way to look for possums, I surprised the raccoon in the garage and it panicked. It shot through the cat door. The critters were totally aware of the “bed and breakfast” in our garage where meals were free and easy.
Last week we noticed big “poops” on the floor of the garage. Oh Yuk! The water dish was dry; the cats’ dishes were bare.
Fred commented, “Are you sure those are not cat droppings?”
“What? No! Look at the size of them!” I laughed. Didn’t he study animal poop in college? Didn’t think so!
We decided to nail the cat door shut so that whatever critter was invading would not be able to enter. The cats could be left in the garage at night. They would need a cat litter box.
It didn’t work.
Mama, the feral, tried to enter through the little nailed door. Bang. Bang (she hit against the stationary door). I had called her to come and eat, but she would not come through the open door. She insisted on only using the cat door. But, we couldn’t let her use it. We had to try this plan.
Mama doesn’t trust anyone very much. She trusts me somewhat. I feed her and pet her. But now she knew the door was locked and she wouldn’t respond to me and come through the open door.
Why? What was the matter with her. Several days into this experiment, I figured it out.
We think that Mama lost half of her tail when it got pinched in that same door. While we were out of town, she must have caught her tail somehow in the door.
Half of the tail gradually dried up and fell off. That’s why she wouldn’t go through the open door. She is afraid of it.
Poor Mama.
I no longer nail the cat door shut. I bring the food and water into the house at night. Smart huh? Bet you wondered when I would catch on to that!
In the meantime, we did catch the culprit. We let him go. He was a baby possum.
So, now all we need is a big snake, a fox, and a few mice to complete our zoo. If you have any animals to suggest, we are open for business.
Judi Tabler is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and her views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. She can be reached at