Home invasion, Racoon-style, and an addendum on Cats&Coons

Date: 1996 October 05
Author: requested non-attribution
Subject: RE: discussion of "living with urban wildlife"

I thought I'd throw 2 cents in on this weighty subject. The comments ranging from peaceful coexistence, harmony with nature, isolationism, to techniques for tactical warfare reminded me a few thoughts and a little story/tale. I'll share them for "grins".

"No one speaks of peace, without the ability to back it up with war. History has taught us that whenever one trades land for peace - they ultimately loose both." Now there is a lesson oft' forgotten in this century alone.

Here's the "story":

Coons have entered our house, via the cat door, on three occasions. One was so large it looked like a small dog. It found the cat food in the kitchen and had a feast. I'm sure this encouraged it to brag to it's friends. Sure enough they had to see for themselves. Fate would prevail as we were destined to cross paths...

With a small child at home, I was quite concerned. I have heard stories of coons getting in the house via cat doors and not being able to remember how to get out. They get disoriented and trash the place - possibly putting those inside at risk.

Then it came - the fateful night. I heard the noise at once. The flap on the cat door. I woke from my sleep at the same time as our cat did. Four eyes peering thru the night with nothing but darkness before us.

I quickly made it down the hall passing my son's room. His slumber undisturbed - peace lay upon his face. I turned the corner and there it was. It was a big one! So, I approached with caution. Arms outstretched, the critter well within the sights. I knew that this might be the night I would have to defend my family. Locked and loaded, I was ready.

Suddenly, the coon looked up and saw me! I kept my distance ensuring it had free passage to the cat door. It stood on it's rear legs seeking to assess the odds while ignoring my silent pleas to leave peaceably - all the while giving me a larger target. The night stood still and room closed in upon us.

I stepped forward in an attempt to break the stalemate. No response. Those jet black eyes piercing the darkness. The long front claws ready for action. All behind what some call a "cute little mask". What were my choices? I couldn't wait much longer. Dawn was a long way off.

The longer I waited, the more I felt it gained in confidence. Could I allow it to move toward me? Should I even let it make a move? No. The time for action had come. I squeezed the handle tighter and activated the laser sight. The red dot illuminated the target and restored my sense of control. The coon didn't even realize that its time was running out... I knew it would be quick, effective, relatively quite, but definitely final. It would soon be over.

At that very moment, my cat - Allegra - entered the room. She too is a large animal weighing in at more than twelve pounds. The coon dropped to all fours and the two locked eyes. In an instant, I became a third party. I eased my grip and the coon slipped back into darkness as the laser went silent. I paused to assess the situation and Allegra seized control. This was her land and she was not about to trade any of it. She knew the score and no coon was going to control her. A stalemate was not an option.

With an ally at my feet, I guarded the doorway to my family. It was Allegra's turn. Righteous indignation guided her every move. After all, that was her food it had just eaten. She quietly, but quickly, slipped behind the coon. I was amazed that it would even let her approach. What was it thinking? It enabled itself to be boxed in.

With a mere three feet between them, Allegra hissed and the coon bolted for the door. Allegra was close behind. I stood in awe watching the coon fly thru the cat door half its size. My arms still extended. The sights staring into the darkness. Allegra ceased her pursuit at the door. It was over. She owned the night.

I turned and headed for the bedroom. Checking on my son, his peaceful slumber undisturbed. I remembered the veteran saying: "For those that fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected never taste". I understood and my cat walks a bit taller. I can sleep knowing she has things well in paw ...

Epilogue: No animals were hurt in the proceeding events. Names, dates, and locations of all events may bare semblance to reality - but, maybe not. If the actions above actually took place, they did so well within the legal boundaries of "self-defense" prescribed by local, state, and federal laws.

Fact or fiction - you choose. None-the-less, I hope you enjoyed the tale ;)

Addendum from the page maintainer (Doug Moran):
I have heard from multiple people that their cats routinely confront raccoons and come off the winner (although I also know of cases where a raccoon killed a cat).

My cat Pierre -- 11-pound male, Siamese in look and character -- disliked raccoons when he adopted me: He would ambush, attack, and chase any that ventured near my house. His previous family told me that this animus was longstanding. Once he chased a large male from my deck, and when I caught up to him, he was pacing back and forth about 10 feet from the coon, which was backed up into the corner where two fences met. I grabbed up Pierre and carried him back into the house, and his demeanor changed to one of relief. It was only then that I realized that he and I had been unintentionally reenforcing each other's behavior. I knew how dangerous coons are, and I wanted to protect him from being injured/killed in a fight, so I had been aggressively shooing them away. This had caused him to become even more aggressive towards the coons (I suspect that he was trying to protect me). I should have guess this some time earlier: one night he was "vocalizing" from the edge of my deck, and when I went out to see what the problem was, he blocked my path (stepped in front and hissed at me - very uncharacteristic) and then advanced on the intruder (which turned out to be a raccoon).

I stopped visibly shooing the coons away, instead simply moving in ways that caused the coons to retreat. There was a subsequent reduction in Pierre's aggression towards coons, although he continued to fear/dislike them and to challenge them whenever they approached too close to the house.

Unlike the above story, it was not always a simple case of the cat running the coon off. Several times, I have seen my cat right behind the coon, "throwing claws" into its hindquarters. And several times I have found on my deck tufts of grizzled hair that probably came from a coon.

Although maneuvering to attack a coon from the rear seems to be the preferred tactic for cats, they will attack head on. Multiple times my cat Pierre has been asleep in my living room and awoken to see a raccoon on the other side of the sliding glass door. He charges and, in the middle of an attempted strike at the coon's head, he hits the glass hard with his chest, his paws extended - and descending - to sink his claws into the coon's head.

Others have told me of similar behavior by their cats.

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