March 18, 2013

RINGO - the Ring-Tail Cat!

Friday, a week ago. I noticed some scat in the house on the steps going up to the hamshack.  First assumption was a skunk, since we’ve had those around before.  So other than hearing a few noises at night, everything seemed ok until last Monday morning.  I got up as usual, and was sipping my coffee in front of the fireplace, when out from the bedroom onto the stair landing, walks a beautiful ring-tailed cat (actually a member of the raccoon family). We both stood frozen in amazement staring at one another for about 10 seconds, after which he went behind a kitchen cabinet and disappeared. It appeared that the only way out was either behind the cabinets, or perhaps in back of our refrigerator.
Last Tuesday morning when I got up and walked down the steps,  I found he’d pulled a bunch of 5 bananas off the kitchen table and had eaten half of them, (the remains were on the lower step, just below where I'd seem him before)!
So, Jacinto, a friend who helps me on projects, was out here Wednesday and Thursday helping me on a water line project.  When we finished that, we found a couple of potential entry points in the pump & water heater shed in back of the house where the critter could be getting into the main bathroom downstairs through a tiny slot behind the shower.
Yes, when Jacinto & I looked in the hot water heater closet out back to see about closing the hole in there, (where the critter had pushed the existing chicken wire out of the way to get thru into a small crawl space behind the lower bath shower, and thereby into the house) I saw the last 6 inches of his tail as he went back into the house!  So, as far as we could tell, he was now captive inside the house, with exits/entrances now sealed with fiberglass insulation behind chicken wire and diamond lathe. 
I bought a trap large enough to catch him, have it baited with bananas, some peanut butter, and a raw duck neck (I ate the rest for supper Thursday night)... 
Friday morning (now a week later!) Kim heard strange noises from behind the bathroom wall.  We went out back and opened the door to the hot water heater closet, and sure 'nough, Ringo was in the just staring at us!


Although his face looked like a weasel or small dog, his feet were very cat-like.  If I had only seen those, I'd have sworn this was a big ole tabby up in there!

 Since he showed a liking for bananas, I tried holding a piece out towards him, and although he was interested, he wouldn't leave the security of the water heater closet with it's close-set logs.

So, I placed the banana pieces outside on the sidewalk in his view, left and went aroung to the bathroom window inside. 

It didn't take him long to come on out and get the a small piece of the sweet fruit then run back to safety.  On his second trip, he surprised me by grabbing the peel rather than the rest of the banana.
 But he wasn't going to leave that big chunk behind, and when he came for it, I was ready for a pix of that long tail.
That afternoon, we left the door to the water heater hutch (where he was this morning) open, so he  could leave if he wanted too, we were almost hoping he would stay, but by Saturday morning, he was long gone
BUT, there’s always that possibility that he’ll find his way back into the house once again, and snuggle up under the covers with us tonight!
I’ll keep you posted,